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Prof. Luis G. Collazo Ph.D., 2013

Literary prize awarded to Prof. Luis G. Collazo, Ph.D., for his book on Pedro Albizu Campos, based on his doctoral thesis with GTF.  Given by Pen Club International / Puerto Rico, On December 16,2016 at San Juan, PR.  Below are comments delivered by Dr. Collazo on upon his receipt of this prestigious award.

On December 16, 2016                                                San Juan, PR

Jesus of Nazareth constituted for his times, as well as for today, a challenge to hegemonies that seek to perpetuate unjust structures. His message thus constituted the logical cause of his crucifixion. There is not in him the figure of someone who is condemned by God to immolate himself but that of the chosen prophet who is crucified. It was this message, which in its content and its foundation threatened and challenged that oppressive structure that represented the “Temple.” It is not surprising to point out that the “Temple” was precisely Israel’s most important center of accumulation of wealth and opulence in Jesus’ time. The religious elite today corresponds to those who with impudent vehemence defend neoliberalism and its obsessive-compulsive practices of accumulating wealth. The crucified Jesus did not accept as legitimate a culture that bypassed justice, love and peace as foundations for a full life. The religion of the “Temple” had been reduced to a system of economic taxes that were hidden under their rituals. His message was the denunciation of that religiosity that abdicated before the interests of power that controlled the scene of society. As a reaction, the preaching of Jesus focused on liberating love. This message represented emancipation for the poor, the oppressed, the sick, for the woman suffering blood flow, for the leper, for the publican, for the imprisoned, for the dispossessed of food and minimal goods of life, for the blind and disabled, displaced workers and all those alienated by an insensitive religious-political system. Jesus was not merely a leader within the religious framework. His profile points to a prophet for whom love transcended religiosity and turned out to be the fundamental aspect of life. This fact proposes to organized societies around the military and economic power a new paradigm of life. Thus, the Gospel according to Luke, gives us a new way of conceptualizing culture. At the same time, we can refer to “A Culture of Peace” that contrasts with a model centered on defeating the enemy, conquering the subversive and repressing the rebel. Jesus crucified offers new clues to life: respect for divergence, promotion of freedom and the practice of liberation and solidarity. We need to adopt Christological perspectives that allow us to foster a critical and ethically progressive mentality. The message of Jesus pointed to a new path where reconciliation is conditioned by justice, and the praxis of love is not reduced to pity and compassion. It is about assuming ethics as a liberating and transforming act. Which is equivalent to saying what the Chilean poets said: “you must love, loving.” Thus love, in the proposal of Jesus, who was crucified, does not renounce authentic and transformative action. In him, love means to fully transform the social body of his world and our world. He announces in his Kingdom of God the utopia of a “new and better world.” The cross cannot be seen as a personal tragedy announced. The crucifixion is the act of protest par excellence. It is an act of resistance to forces of power that were subjugated to death, arrogance and decadent religiosity of spiritually dysfunctional sectors. The Kingdom of God as a historical proposal, not so much transcendent, acquired an antagonistic meaning before religious and political structures. That is why the disciples of Jesus must feed the multitude, avoid antagonizing those who attend the cry of the poor, miracles are not subject to the payment of fees in the form of an offering and the legislators of such practices are called “Bleached sepulchers”. The accumulation of material goods ceased to be central in the Kingdom of God that Jesus announced, in conflicting opposition to the riches that the priests accumulated. It is the oppressive structures that were configured in that religious culture, which Jesus denounced as hypocritical practices. That is why he denounced those who pretended that the people “would carry burdens which they themselves could not bear.” His mansion dismissed and devalued greed and greed. His prophetic management was aimed at establishing the foundations that will guarantee human beings their right to dignity and authentic human coexistence. The crucified Jesus challenges the conversion to structures and systems that have lagged true human progress. They are called to convert to the Kingdom of God and their justice by favoring the fair distribution of material goods, contributing to the healing of the planet earth, renouncing a neoliberal market economy. Building progress from a wealth based on the common good, demilitarizing and “turning weapons into tools of farming,” fostering dialogue and forgiveness; Condoning debts to poor countries and ensuring the “daily bread” for everyone. Ultimately, the Crucified One gave his life “for the sake of the world.” He announced a Kingdom of God for “all and all.” He offered himself as a revolutionary holocaust to inaugurate hope again and declare all necrophilia to be abominable. All xenophobia; all xenophilia; all absurdity; all genocide and all actions that annul the glorious future of happiness. The cross tells us that ultimately the forces of evil will not prevail.

 

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