Jesus’ saying about the destruction of the temple gives us a way to view human structures as the powers they are but also as provisional—as all human things are.
In her very presence, the widow performs the political act of bringing to light oppression and injustice. Our task is to learn how to see her.
Today’s texts are complicated, messy messages of divine justice. Perhaps the best we can learn from Job or Bartimaeus is the courage to call God to accountability.
Is wealth the opposite of Christianity? Is profit antithetical to the kin-dom of God? A look into Franciscan friar Luca Pacioli’s accounting process – now called reconciliation accounting – reveals that despite Jesus’ words, the practice of Christians in the Western world has emphatically answered: no, they get along just fine. It is high time for a Christianity, guided by Mark 10:17–31, that is unreconciled with wealth.
Our problem is neither that we have power nor that we lack power. Many factors outside our control determine how much power we actually have. Our problem is that we fail to recognize the power we do have so that we can steward it well.
To be personally acquainted with disownment and the discourse of death—simultaneously, from divergent communities—and still desire to be “servant of all” is, perhaps, one way to journey through death on the Way. Nevertheless, Jesus’ teaching to love neighbor and enemy is both beautiful and horrible, not unlike the Christ’s foretelling of his death on the way to resurrection.
The God we meet in Amos and John demands righteousness, solidarity and justice as the foundations of faithful living. Neutrality scuppers justice. When we drift away from God, our fellow human beings and the life-giving environment, prophetic truth-telling tempered with an imagination for a different world becomes a necessity.
What if we treated death and suffering as having the last word? How would that change us and the world we live in?
Indian citizens stepping up to save as many lives as they could embody what the Kingdom of God is about: collective self-care, mutual aid, without a king, while also holding earthly kings accountable for not attending to the needs of their public whether or not there is a crisis.
The politics of identity often has Indigenous persons grappling with the dichotomy of US empire’s labels of the Native American Indian as contaminating evil or contaminated victim. For Indigenous Christians Jesus calls on us to spurn these limiting designations, to embrace the spirit of interdependent creation, which brings us back to a family of justice and life.
It is only in the memories of Jesus the fully human that we can find what I argue is the greatest power of the Passion for human lives held captive by the oppressive forces of Empire: the strength to face our crippling fear, stare the full oppressive might of the state in the face, and refuse to cede our full humanity – our joy, love, compassion, and hope – in service to the state’s liturgies of violence and fear.