There is a lesson in this for us. Don’t get side tracked or distracted by the naysayers or those who want to pivot away from the injustice we are challenging to ourselves and what gives us permission to speak out again the injustice. We don’t have to have anyone’s permission to speak out. The presence of injustice is permission enough. Care for our fellow human beings gives us the right to speak out. Being a member of the human family gives us intrinsic authority when we see fellow humans being harmed. This applies ecologically and environmentally also. Humans are harmed by ruining our shared home on this planet in order to profit a few in the short term.
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Lastly, our reading this week includes the parable of the two sons of which scholars have spent much ink debating on the variations of this story that we have today (there are three different versions). The author of this story is placing much more emphasis on a person’s actions than their words. It’s not enough say yes to Jesus kingdom if the actions that follow that yes don’t align with the ethics and values of Jesus’ kingdom. In other words, accepting a ticket to a heaven later in other words is meaningless if we aren’t attempting to follow Jesus today in making our present home safe and just for everyone. In the end, the professions of the two sons didn’t matter. It was their actions that mattered. This is why I value whether someone is part of the solution to today’s injustice or whether they are part of the cause far more than whether that person claims or embraces Christianity or even Jesus. Professions matter little. The question is not what you believe or don’t believe. The question is whether you are choosing to be a life-giving human to those around you. In the end, and in the words of our story, Christian or not, those making the world a safer place for everyone are the ones doing what the “father wanted.”
I’ll close this week with the words of the late Oscar Romero:
“Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down.” (Quoted by Leonardo Vilchis, We Cry Justice, p. 93)
Herb’s new book, Finding Jesus: A story of a fundamentalist preacher who unexpectedly discovered the social, political, and economic teachings of the Gospels, is now available at Renewed Heart Ministries.