Friday, August 05, 2011

What Messiah are *we* waiting for?

The Jews, in Jesus' time, are and have been and no doubt will be criticized—and perhaps rightly so—for expecting a Messiah who would (a) expunge the enemies of the chosen people and (b) elevate Us Good Guys.

"My kingdom is not of this world," Our Lord said, countless times. We get it.

But do we?

I don't know about you, but I often do NOT get it.

And you know...I'm not sure even the most devout Christians get it.

I've been—what? Guilty? Whatever—of "piously" echoing the prophet's plea: "How long, O Lord?!?" when facing what I deem to be evil.

But "how long" for what? Do I anticipate eagerly the Second Coming of Christ in order to Banish All Those Evil People?

If so, I am not getting it.

After the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, he was given the "keys to the Kingdom." Yet, moments later, while rebuking his Messiah for His determination to face the Cross, he was rebuked himself..."Get thee behind me, Satan!"

Maybe it's just me, and I pray that it is, but from what I hear and read from truly devout Christians? I doubt it. I think that sometimes we're like Mrs. Zebedee...asking, goaded on my our all too human perspective of creation, that our families, our friends, be given positions of "power" when the "Kingdom finally comes." And to hell with the rest of those nasty folk: the anti-Christians, the "cafeteria Catholics," the abortionists, and all those other sinners.

And that's all wrong.

First of all, the Kingdom is already here. Jesus proclaimed it. Second of all, it's "not of this world!"

So all of our lamentations, our grievances, our "hey, this is unfair" complaints? They're about as silly as those folks in the desert complaining about the taste of the manna.

The answer is Love.

No, I'm not talking about a Beatles song, or about ignoring evil. But what I've come to realize is quite simple: Jesus is Love, and as Love, is concerned with all of us...even, no actually especially, those people we humans, sometimes, long to see expunged.

Can we, do you think, take a furlough from our lofty seat of judgment? For example, can we, instead of writing frantic letters to the papal nuncio, take a moment to pray for the subjects of our letters (and, by the way, for the Nuncio as long as we're at it)? Can we quietly refrain from loudly announcing our intention to boycott thus and so retailer—yes, boycott it if we will, but quietly— and use the energy we would spent on organizing such a boycott to simply pray for the people we are boycotting? In other words, can we cut the crap about How Good We Are and spend some time praying for those who's actions offend our sensibilities?

We won't get much worldly notice for doing this.

But do we really give a bleep about "worldly notice?" What good, in the end, will that do us? His Kingdom is not of this world, after all.

How about us?