How is the riven social body, with its divisions between poor and rich, to be healed?
In both Luke’s account of the Ethiopian eunuch and John’s discussion of love, the New Testament holds out the promise of a chastened yet real utopian vision, founded in God’s self-gift in King Jesus.
For the disciples on the Emmaus Road, the resurrection was the key to unlocking the meaning of Israel’s history. As a master key, however, its power extends further, opening up our eyes to the one in whom all of human life and history holds together.
In the declamation of Isaiah 1, the prophet associates Judah and its rulers with Sodom, for their inhospitality, injustice, and the presumption that they can hide this from God. Zacchaeus, a man characterized by such Sodom-like injustice, is delivered from this as justice is welcomed into his house in the person of Jesus.
According to 1 Kings 8, prayer is what Israel is supposed to do in times of helpless hopelessness. The temple is where they turn when there is nowhere to turn. Israel as a whole was invited to appeal to the High King for help in times of trial, and the text leads us to wonder if every polity directs its hopes toward a temple.
The political significance of Paul’s charge to the Colossians to give thanks to the Father in all things that they say and do is surprising in its far-reaching implications. The proper direction of our gratitude to God, the giver of all good gifts, limits the power of those who would dominate by indebting others, encourages us to release others from their debts to us, and frees us to give to those who cannot repay: it is one of the most radical political actions the Church engages in.
. . . The concept undeniably has a certain appeal, and few slogans are better calculated to capture the imaginations of the young and disaffected than “Towards eucharistic anarchism” (Bill Cavanaugh’s phrase in Radical Orthodoxy) and other such brazen assertions of liturgical politics. But in all the talk of eucharistic politics, a surfeit of aesthetic appeal seems to have usually compensated for a shortfall of logical clarity.