Monday, March 31, 2014

Through Your Sacred Wounds, a Lenten pilgrimage to the Prodigal Feast

Part Three: From a Wounded People to a Community of Compassion

So if I take the Gospel seriously, I have to acknowledge that indeed Jesus did not come to judge the world but to heal it, save it (Yeshuah- Hebrew, to make safe or be rescued. Salvare- Latin, to secure to heal). I read the Gospels and see Jesus teaching, healing and feeding. I don't see Jesus condemning. In fact when Jesus is called upon by the religious leaders to judge "sinners" and the "impure" as they do, he refuses, he instead defends the "accused"  from the condemnation of religion, instead Jesus forgives them the requirements of religious pretense and offers his healing words and touch. I think he does this as a way of stripping the religious of their presumptuous authority. Yes, he does chastise the religious leaders though and condemns them as moralizing hypocrites. Later these religious leaders would send Jesus to the cross. Here on the cross Jesus remains true, he forgives them and all of us for ages to come. When, for the sake of their morality and controlling power, religious leaders today seek to condemn the compassionate faithful, Jesus, still from the cross, defends the faithful from their attacks. In doing so, if nothing else, Jesus reminds us to not confuse religion for God. God did not require Jesus to be sacrificed, religion did. In the resurrection God establishes that God's loving power transcends religion's presumptions of power.

In the wounds Jesus receives innocently, at the hands of the immorality of power at work in the state and in religion, Jesus shares with us and suffers with us the wounds we innocently bear, the wounds of betrayal which begin soon after birth and continue through life. We are wounded by those who love us and those who we love. Jesus shares those wounds too. Jesus is betrayed to death by one so close to him, betrayed by abandonment of those he loved, except Mary Magdalene, betrayed by his people and the religion of his heritage, and betrayed by state's justice. These are wounds we all know and share with Jesus, our sacred wounds of betrayal. In the compassion of Jesus we can come to healing, healing found in sharing Christ's spirit in healing with each other. Jesus shows us that we can have courage to accept the hard truth of betrayal and its suffering in our lives. By his example, of his coming from the sorrow of his cousin John's execution, and his finding there compassion in the shared suffering of himself with humanity, to find a communion of compassion, to be moved to heal, teach and feed the multitudes (Mark 6:29-39). The nature of Christ's compassion can transform our defensive nature. We can be in Jesus' community of compassion, we can share and extend Christ's healing power. This is the great key to God's loving power for us and through us, by sharing as Jesus does, in the sharing of the communion of compassion in our vulnerability, rather than by our instinctive retreat into defensive reaction and condemnation.

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