1.The Missionary Journeys of Paul. The first door is opened by Ariel Alvarez Valdés an Argentinian who covers the experience of the Apostle through his journeys. The author reassesses the classical view of the “three missionary journeys” followed by the “journey as a prisoner” based on the narratives of the Acts of the Apostles. He asserts that Paul’s whole life is a repeated experience of announcement that a more attentive reconstruction can articulate in seven missionary voyages. The number could increase: the Latin-American scholar, in fact, stops at the threshold of Paul’s imprisonment in Jerusalem. He does not explore the field, still very much open for discussion, which touches the events following Paul’s Roman imprisonment. Was Paul freed or immediately executed? In case he was liberated, did the Apostle begin his mission to Spain or limit himself to visiting the communities he founded to consolidate the work of the Spirit? These are questions that remain open but allow us speculate that the missionary journeys of Paul may have been more numerous than hitherto proposed..
2. The Origin, Form And Evolution Of Ecclesial Ministry In The Pauline Community. Through the second door the Salesian Horacio E. Lona, addresses the question of development in Paul’s thought. He explores the contrast between the Gospels and the letters of Paul. While each Gospel is the fruit of a complex editorial process, each one shows a unity of thought and homogeneity of content. By comparison, in the letters of Paul the reader becomes aware of the development in Paul’s thought, whether it is attributed to Paul through the letters composed by him, or to his disciples who wrote in his name after his death. The author chooses for such a scope a delicate topic of ecclesial ministry, showing how an impassioned dedication to the Gospel slowly acquires the face of the more institutional ministries in answer to the growth of the community and the gradually differentiating needs. This is articulated in “thirteen theses” that follow an equal number of tracks that will prove themselves useful during the seminar.
3. Paul and his collaborators. The third door, entrusted to the Pauline Roger Wawa from Congo, opens up to the world of Paul’s relationships. The Apostle was not only a man who, in order to give witness to the Gospel, travelled the Roman world in many missionary journeys. Nor was he only a thinker of importance who elaborated a continually maturing theological system. Paul was first of all a man of relationships who stirred up the energies of those with whom he came into contact. This is revealed in the wide range of collaborators, almost a hundred, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and in his letters. Thanks to these persons, Paul was able to maintain contacts with the communities even in the midst of very complex situations. These men and women were not “subject” or inferior to the apostle, but collaborators “in Christ Jesus” who complemented Paul and were indispensable in spreading the Gospel.
4. Reading Paul in the XXI Century. The fourth door, to be discussed by Maria Pascuzzi of the University of San Diego in California, opens up the principal trends of Pauline study that have characterized the last fifty years. Already within the New Testament it is possible to encounter “different portraits” of the apostle Paul (the Paul that emerges from the deutero-Pauline letters is quite different from the one that we meet in the Acts of the Apostles). The American professor pauses essentially on three lines of contemporary reading: the rhetorical approach which shows how the writings of the Apostle draw from his knowledge of ancient rhetoric (J.-N. Aletti, A. Pitta, J.T. Reed); the New Perspective which puts Paul again in the context of Judaism of his time, transcending the Law-Grace opposition that, through the influence of a certain Protestant reading, risks distorting the message of Paul (J.D.G. Dunn, J.D. Moore, K. Seyoon); and the anti-imperial reading that approaches Paul from the angle of his rapport with the Roman empire and sees in the Apostle a man who indirectly but provocatively dismantled, one after the other, the foundations of power (J.D. Crossan, N. Elliott, R.A. Horsley).
5. Paul The Apostle, Inspiration And Model. In conclusion, it seems significant to us to indicate the fifth door. We are directed to it by no less than the pen and heart of Beato Giacomo Alberione , rightly called “the greatest admirer of Saint Paul of the last century”. Between the end of 1800 and the beginning of 1900, as he perceived the actuality of Christ’s invitation “Come ye all to me” (Mt 11, 28) and as he observed the flight of the masses from the Church, he imagined a new evangelization side by side with the one that traditionally hinges on the parish. He then came out with a new figure of apostle that, taking up Paul as model, would be a living and dynamic witness of the Gospel, unafraid of the complexities of the contemporary world. His ideas, provocations and challenges can continue to confront us us, transforming the study of Paul into a creative dialogue with the Charism we have received as a gift..
These are the five doors, behind each one of which hides an appeal and a commitment. These will become clear in the measure in which we shall set in motion that process of study indispensable for making fruitful the approaching Seminar.
|1. The Missionary Journeys of Paul||Ariel Álvarez Valdés||-|
|2. The Origin, Form And Evolution Of Ecclesial Ministry In The Pauline Community ||Horacio Lona ||-|
|3. Paul and his collaborators||Roger Wawa ||-|
|4. Reading Paul in the XXI Century||Maria Pascuzzi ||-|
|5. Paul The Apostle, Inspiration And Model||Beato Giaccomo Alberiore |
The Preparatory Commission