Chapter 23: A New World, a New Man
I am reminded of a beautiful parable in Jesus’ life.One morning, a beautiful morning on Lake Galilee, he came and put his hand on one of the men who was trying to catch fish. The man turned round, and there was something in the eyes of Jesus: whatever Jesus said the man followed it. Jesus said, “Drop that net. How long are you going to destroy your life just by catching fish? Come with me. I will tell you the way to catch men.”
He had never thought that he could be anything else than a fisherman. This man was so authoritative that he dropped the net and followed Jesus. Just as they were going out of the town a man came running and said to the man, “Where are you going? Your father who was ill for so many days has died. Come home.”
He asked Jesus, “Give me three days so I can go and bury my dead father and do all the rituals that are needed. I will be back soon.”
What Jesus said to that man I would like to say to you. Jesus said, “There are enough dead people in the town, you need not worry. Let the dead bury the dead. You come with me.”
Those words are tremendously significant: “Let the dead bury the dead.” The whole town is full of dead people. Although they are breathing and walking and talking and doing all kinds of things, they are not alive. There is no song in them, their heart has no dance in it, there is no ecstasy in their lives. Whether they are alive or dead does not matter; it is just the same. In fact, death will be better, it will be a great rest for them.
The world you are asking about is already dead. You cannot save it, no savior can save it - and there is no need to save it either. It is rotten. There are only corpses all around. They have forgotten to live, they have forgotten to love, they have forgotten to celebrate. They have forgotten everything that gives meaning to life, makes each moment a souvenir, a memory so golden to be kept alive forever. Their lives are just empty; inside they are hollow, there is nothing substantial in them. They don’t have a soul.
It is perfectly good that this world dies, this man dies, this society dies. But before it dies and before we take it to the graveyard, we have to bring out of it a new life, a new man, a new world - exactly in the same way as when a seed dies into the earth it sprouts into a new life, with two beautiful leaves, green, fresh. This is transformation. The seed was closed and almost dead, but it has died into the soil and has given place to a living thing. A beautiful tree will grow with many branches, great foliage, fruits, flowers. And those branches will dance in the sun, in the wind, under the stars, under the moon.
Before it dies, let us use this world as a seed for the new man; let us use this man as a seed for a new humanity. That’s my whole work - to prepare you for two things: to die as far as the past is concerned; and to start living in a totally new way, discontinuous with the past, so you can become the new man. It is absolutely urgent. You cannot postpone it.