Klaus Hemmerle Klaus Hemmerle (1929-1994), Bishop of Aachen, was an outstanding theologian and philosopher who gave his unique contribution to the doctrinal understanding of the charism of unity and introduced the charism to many other bishops
Bishop Hemmerle wrote with reference to Jesus’ words: “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40):
- ‘This Word tells us definitely what the human person is and what the human reality is … This interpretation of what it is to be human is certainly scandalous, and no less than Jesus who scandalized people by declaring himself the Son of God. In the name of their own freedom, in the name of their own identity and specialness, people feel they must protest against being identified with Jesus Christ. People wish to be loved for themselves, for what they are, and don’t want to be degraded to a kind of mask for Jesus. They fear instead that the ‘something more’ of love that they receive for love of Jesus will be something that takes no account of them, something that puts them to one side, something that robs them of the love they desire for themselves and which they need. But any whose love is such that by loving Jesus in the other person they neglect the other as a person, in this act neglect Jesus as well. And any whose consideration of the presence of Jesus in people leads them to diminish the reality of the human being, in reality have not understood in the slightest the presence of Jesus in their neighbour.
- Jesus makes himself one with me, that is, he does not leave me alone. He is on my side in a radical fashion, he accepts me just as I am, and anything that concerns me concerns him too. I remain myself, I become fully myself, precisely because I do not remain alone.
- The mystery of Christ is the mystery of every human being. What does this mean for the person I meet and what does it meet for me and my life? With reference to the other it means I am never involved with someone who is just a link in a chain or a cog in a machine or merely a cypher amidst the huge mass of human material. Every time I meet a human face, I meet God in the unconditional reality of the divine, I meet the voice that over this human face utters what was said of Jesus on the mountain of Transfiguration: ‘This is my Son, the Beloved!’ (Mk 9:7). There are no exceptions.
- We meet Christ especially in the least, in those who seem the furthest from him, in persons where the face of Christ seems blanked out. How can this be? On the cross, living his forsakenness by God, making himself even sin (2 Cor. 5:21), Jesus identified himself with all that was most distant from God, from all that most seems opposed to God. Only by discovering Christ in our neighbours, in those furthest from the mystery of their own personhood and from the mystery of Christ, giving to the person that human love which is offered undividedly to the person and to Christ himself, can our neighbours discover their own identity with Jesus, their closeness to him, their being fully assumed by him.
Extracts from Offene Weltformel