“Sometimes, the Gospel is a message that can seem confusing and cruel in its handling of ideas like original sin, blood sacrifice, and conscious endless torment. The Gospel can seem like bad news, instead of good news.
Originally the Gospel was an ancient political statement, a proclamation of a world order, specifically of the Roman Empire. The Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, was also a proclamation of a world order, but it was a proclamation of a new world, the Kingdom of God.
For the poor and the powerless, for many of us, the Gospel can often seem confusing and cruel, like bad news. But the Gospel of Jesus is good news, the Kingdom of God is here.”
“There has been a long history of revival preachers who have proclaimed this pre-gospel of fear, threat and condemnation – telling people the bad news so that they can then receive the good news. The basic philosophy of this approach being that people need to be shaken out of their complacency and made ready to respond to the gospel….. How could things have gone so wrong? When did the good news become the bad news?”
“Life may not look the way we imagined it and there may be areas in which we long for change and that’s ok. But if our framework sounds a little like, “When I’m rich, then I will give to charity” or, “When I have a nice house, then I’ll invite people over”, it implies that “now” is insufficient or inadequate and that is not true. It is not the way of Jesus. Jesus is whispering “I will use you in all of your life, just follow me”.
“Jesus died in solidarity with all of those – with all of us. He cares about what we care about, he is interested in what we are interested in. And he calls us to that kind of costly solidarity as the expression of the kingdom of heaven on earth. This is how we live the sermon on the mount, it’s how we learn how to do all of life from Jesus. In solidarity with all of humanity, seeing the image of God in each of them, and offering them our grace, compassion, love and selfless service.
“Jesus is Lord, Master, and Saviour. He has called us to follow and serve him so when we do his will, when we follow his orders, we shouldn’t expect gratitude or praise. Our work is for his glory not ours. We are nothing special. And so, when we have done all that is commanded us we don’t say to ourselves ‘I’m somebody very special.’ We say, ‘We are unworthy servants, we have done only that which we ought to have done.’ ”
What if we had this crazy kind of faith that doesn’t let our circumstances change who God is?
What if we knew God so deeply that when our integrity is tested we choose to walk with God rather than with society.
Not so we get glory, but so that we can participate in putting the world to right, join in the invitation that God has extended to us. What if?
“Jesus teaches that caring for others, reforming society and the love of God are the most important matters in our religion. As followers of Jesus, not only we are to work for charity and reform, to be called both saint and communist as Archbishop Dom Camara would put it, but to show mercy and to do justice above and beyond religious rituals and routines.”
“When we see the image of Mary mourning the death of Jesus, we also see an image of all mothers mourning the death of children lost to injustice. If the cross is a picture of all suffering and all oppression, then the resurrection become a picture of justice. If you have experienced suffering and oppression, if you have felt the wounds, then you need justice, you need the resurrection.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for trying to turn the social order upside-down. Blessed are those who are persecuted because they believe the last will be first and the first will be last.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because they associate with criminals, sex workers and drunks.”