Applying Jubilee Principles

Over at The Catholic Weekly, we continue our look at the biblical concept of the Jubilee, which would give most conservative American Christians a heart attack:

Last time in this space, we talked about the Jubilee in the Old Testament and saw that it was an attempt to extend the Exodus and the grace God had shown Israel into history so that the Exodus was not a one-off event but a way of life.  The Jubilee was ordered toward defending the least of these from oppression at the hands of the strong, just like the Exodus.

We noted that while the specific regulations of the Mosaic law cannot be applied in the circumstances of a different culture, age, and economic system, nonetheless it is vital to grasp that when Jesus launched his ministry, he identified himself with the Jubilee.  That is, he did not inaugurate a Jubilee Year, but announced that he is the true Jubilee, just as he is the true Temple and the true Passover Lamb.

This means that we Christians cannot just blow off the Jubilee as an outmoded Old Testament thing any more than we can blow off the idea of sacrifice.  Just as Jesus came not to abolish, but to fulfil the sacrifices of the Old Testament in the sacrifice of the Mass, so he fulfills, not abolishes the Jubilee.  In him, supremely, debts are forgiven, slaves are set free, and justice is done to the poor.

Much more here.


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