"By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track...."Matthew 22:36-40)
(Once to Every Man and Nation; Lyrics by James R. Lowell, in the Boston Courier, December 11, 1845. Music by Thomas J. Williams)
Saying that loving God and neighbors applies to everybody, even foreigners and criminals: that doesn't always go over too well.
Suggest that loving the sinner but hating the sin means not hating homosexuals, folks in the other political party, or the bum next door? you'll probably get a chilly response, at best.
I've sometimes wished that more folks would take God, love, and reason seriously. It would be nice to get praise and perks from the 'right sort' for repeating what Jesus said. But on the other hand: do I really want their approval?
"Pope: when Christians lack difficulties, 'something is wrong' "What Francis talked about isn't 'jerks for Jesus' stuff, where evangelical teams go around using the Bible as a blunt instrument.
Kevin Jones, CNA/EWTN News (May 28, 2013)
"Faithful Christians will always face difficulties, said Pope Francis on Tuesday, warning that a worldly, career-based approach to faith avoids the suffering and persecution inherent in following Christ.
" 'Many Christians, tempted by the spirit of the world, think that following Jesus is good because it can become a career, they can get ahead,' the Pope said.
" 'When a Christian has no difficulties in life - when everything is fine, everything is beautiful - something is wrong.'
"He suggested this temptation is common for a Christian who is 'a great friend of the spirit of the world, of worldliness.'
"You cannot remove the cross from the path of Jesus, it is always there,' he added...."
We're expected to spread the news: Jesus stopped being dead; we should love God and our neighbors; we have hope. The last orders my Lord gave before leaving were to "... make disciples of all nations ... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded...." (Matthew 28:19-20)
Folks who like the status quo typically don't respond favorably to the sort of unconditional love that Jesus teaches. We're supposed to love them anyway.
It doesn't help that turning away from the path often feels good, in the short term. More topics.
Here's what Francis said about priorities and goals:
"...'Following Jesus is just that: going with him out of love, behind him: on the same journey, the same path. And the spirit of the world will not tolerate this and what will make us suffer, but suffering as Jesus did,' he said.Jesus said "follow me."1 Then my Lord marched through Hell.
" 'Let us ask for this grace: to follow Jesus in the way that he has revealed to us and that he has taught us. This is beautiful, because he never leaves us alone. Never! He is always with us. So be it.'"
(Kevin Jones, CNA/EWTN News)
I think I can put up with a spot of unpleasantness now and then.
- "Elijah, Disappointing Election Results, and Getting a Grip"
(November 14, 2012)
- "Still Shining in the Darkness: or, Be Not Afraid of Geekness"
(August 22, 2012)
- "Loving Neighbors: No Matter What"
(May 10, 2011)
- "Hating People? Not an Option"
(December 9, 2010)
- "The Catholic Church and Homosexuals: Harsh and Soft, Judgmental and Understanding"
(March 13, 2009)