Tag Archives: religious leaders

shame on us

Trump's followers:

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

The Gospel Reading for this coming Sunday is the ninth chapter of John. It tells the story of religious leaders who refused to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus even after it was proven that Jesus had healed a man born blind. One reason the religious leaders refused to believe was that the man was healed on the Sabbath, which broke the Jewish law. But in the end, they just refused to believe what they could see with their own eyes.

Far to many of us are fooling ourselves. We can see the truth of this administration, yet we choose not to believe what we know is true. Shame on us. Our disbelief does not change the facts. It does, however, keep us from enacting the change that needs to happen.

Jesus doesn’t care…

The Gospel reading for this Second Sunday of Advent is Matthew 3:1-12. It is the story of John the Baptist preaching and baptizing at the River Jordan. His key message was “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

His other major message was  directed at the religious leaders present. He didn’t tell them to memorize scripture. Instead, he directed that they “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”

How we treat those around us is all that matters. Treating others with love and living a compassionate and caring lifestyle that daily reflects the love of Jesus demonstrates the fruit of repentance. That is what Jesus really cares about.

praying for the Pope

Jesus wasn’t crucified for telling his listeners to consider the lilies and how they grow. He was nailed to the cross for pointing to the thieves and saying look how they steal. And the thieves to which he was pointing were the religious leaders who were most loudly proclaiming their religiosity.

Jesus was crucified because he was threatening the established religious order. The religious leaders in Jerusalem encouraged the Roman government to take care of the growing menace Jesus posed to their control of the faithful.  Jesus was drawing far too much attention to the disparity between their sanctimonious proclamations and the ugly reality of their lifestyles. He had to be silenced.

The Romans pulled the trigger. But it was the religious leaders that pointed the gun.

All of that is to say that I am praying daily for Pope Francis. He continues to demonstrate true prophetic courage in addressing the critical issues of our day. And there is true danger in that.

The Pope’s humility is real, but so is his call for change.  George Weigel, a conservative Catholic, recently wrote that, “Pope Francis is a revolutionary. The revolution he proposes, however, is not a matter of economic or political prescription, but a revolution in the self-understanding of the Catholic Church.”

I  disagree. Pope Francis is definitely working to clean out the thieves from the temple and put the Catholic Church back into order. But, he has also demonstrated he is committed to living out the gospel of Jesus Christ, not just mouthing platitudes.

Pope Francis is addressing the economic inequities of our world and he is doing it in a manner that points a finger at those in positions of power. He is truly showing preferential treatment towards the poor, the weak and the dispossessed. Such  prophetic faithfulness is powerful. It is also imminently dangerous. It was in Jerusalem. And it certainly is in Rome.