Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine why Jesus faced suffering and death. Often there is a popular idea that would have Jesus preaching only love, peace, kindness, and lilies of the field. The thinking goes that in the face of such preaching he was put to death by those who were against love, peace, and kindness. Such is too facile an explanation.
Jesus’ preaching was certainly about love, but it was about much more. Somebody preaching love is no threat to the establishment, no threat to the powerful. Somebody preaching love can easily be dismissed as a dreamer and best left alone.
Today’s gospel gives us some of Jesus’ preaching that likely created enemies for himself. His preaching favoured the poor, hungry, weeping, and hated. He upended not only ancient cultural norms and values but modern ones too. Rather than simply give a verbal pat on the head to those on the bottom rungs of society, he also pulls down the mighty and issues woes that apply just as much to us as they did to those in power in antiquity. In so doing, Jesus creates enemies, not of the poor but of the powerful. It is they who will ultimately put him to death. But as we know, his suffering and death is not the end. God raises him up to glory, giving us the paschal mystery. His followers find themselves allied with those blessed by Jesus. Living Liturgy 2019©
Download full newsletter here17 Feb