The Blessed and The Woe’d

“Then looking up at His disciples, [Jesus] said: Blessed are you who are poor, because the kingdom of God is yours.  Blessed are you who are hungry now, because you will be filled.  Blessed are you who weep now, because you will laugh.  Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you, insult you, and slander your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! Take note—your reward is great in heaven, because this is the way their ancestors used to treat the prophets.

But woe to you who are rich because you have received your comfort.  Woe to you who are full now, because you will be hungry.  Woe to you who are laughing now, because you will mourn and weep.  Woe to you when all people speak well of you, because this is the way their ancestors used to treat the false prophets.

“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.

Give to everyone who asks from you, and from one who takes away your things, don’t ask for them back.  Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.” (Luke 6:20-31)

These words that Jesus said (not some socialist or right-winger) seem to fall upon deaf ears in 2012.  These words are tough for Western Christians to hear, for we pride ourselves on our ‘evangelical entrepreneurism’ – work hard, get some breaks, become rich, and somewhere in the mix is Jesus.

And during this election season, as I listen to Christians of both sides focusing more on hate and divisiveness, I hear little from followers of Jesus about the poor and the marginalized.  All I seem to be hearing is patriotic drivel, the middle and upper classes and yet I am reminded of these words of Jesus that seem to be nowhere to be found..

It seems that Pax Christi has been replaced by Pax Americana…a religion where flag and faith in Jesus have become so mired together, there is very little telling them apart.  But the flag of any country shall never fly higher than the cross that Jesus hung upon.

I love my country, I truly do but blind patriotism has been elevated to a new ‘evangelical’ faith, one that ignores the very heart of the message of Jesus: that He came to bring good news to the poor and the wounded (and thanks be to God we all fall into the latter category).

But this is the hard truth of the Scripture that many Western Christians of any political persuasion fail to grasp, namely that good news for the poor is bad news for the rich.

Ouch…sometimes the Truth hurts before it heals..