As we celebrate the birth of one of the world's great religions, it is time to reflect on the meaning of that foundation.
The words in the Bible that are attributed directly to Jesus seem to have missed the ears and mind of today's so-called Christians. Where are the concerns and empathy for the poor today? Where is the love for the Samaritan or "other"? Where is the love? Where is the peace? Those were the emphases of the message of Jesus. Today they are but a distant and strange story, a cute little story that nobody seems to want to relate it to today's greed and insensitivity and war-mongering.
Today's son of a carpenter might have to rely on food stamps or other assistance, and the society that surrounds him would look down on him and pass all kinds of negative judgments.
Today's outside immigrant, like the Samaritan, would be unaccepted by the society. Yet Jesus, by example was caring and a friend. What would Jesus say about today's immigrants?
Perhaps nothing would be more criticized by the Nazarene than today's greed-mongers. It is absolutely amazing that the rich and powerful use all their power to ask for more benefits while denying them to the poor. How can you possibly equate that to Jesus? Yet many of these same greedy rich today wear a Christian halo proudly. Nauseating.
Imagine, the richest nation in the world spends billions of dollars preventing equal health care for all of its citizens. Imagine Jesus stating, "Sorry, you do not have adequate health care insurance." Imagine Jesus telling his followers that one-payer systems for health-care are not fair and democratic. Imagine a health care system that is different for the haves than the have-nots. A Christian nation? C'mon.
Do you see any of the loving, compassionate, empathetic Jesus in today's Washington, D.C? The lobbied Congress persons who are bought and sold to keep things from the needy and given over to the rich show absolutely nothing related to the message of Jesus.
And the fundamentalist Christians who chastise today's poor and needy by telling them to do an HONEST day's work, might want to tell the men and women who sit in the House and Senate to also do an HONEST day's work.
As you listen to today's messages from Christian leaders, please reflect on the words and actions of Jesus. And try to maneuver your way through a muddled message that is bought and sold by the have's to confuse you. Try to reflect on democracy as preached by the Nazarene. Try to reflect on what is represented in the humble crib of the Baby Jesus. Cathedrals, Vaticans, gold altars, concocted vestments, bigotry, selfishness, greed....all rampant in today's power groups...are out of sync with a manger, a poor young virgin, and a loyal carpenter.