The Reign of Life

Around the world, poverty is choking people to death.

Jesus established the kingdom of God based on the Jubilee principles of the Old Testament. These principles called for a political, economic, and spiritual revolution in response to human need. Jesus intended nothing less than an actual revolution, with debts forgiven, slaves set free, and land returned to the poor. Of course, this revolution threatened the vested interests of the powerful and therefore put Jesus on the road to Calvary.

Human need—be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or social—was Jesus’ reason for being…and should be ours. Christ wants us to respond to the suffering that torments the poor. Jesus wants a new social order where human lives are dignified with justice, uplifted in compassion, and nurtured by peace.

The ever increasing world of violence that threatens us all can only be defeated by love, by the reaching out of a hand in a moment of darkness. Compassion is the most effective response to hatred and violence. Because of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we know that every birth, every life, and every death matters to God…and must matter to us.

In the face and presence of the poor we can learn to see the face and presence of Christ.

God is at home among the poor. Jesus was born in the midst of their poverty and rejection. Like the poor and oppressed, Jesus was despised and rejected. Like the poor and oppressed, Jesus was hungry and discouraged. Jesus did not come as a royal ruler, as king of the universe. He was born into poverty and lived among the poor. He was an outcast, living among outcasts, living among people with no privilege or rights. His message was so radical, so unsettling, he was quickly put to death for threatening to turn the established power structure upside down.
Poverty gives birth to hunger and despair. Poverty means one bad thing after another. Worse, poverty often also means death. Death by poverty blasphemes the reign of life proclaimed by Christ. Nowhere in the Gospels do we hear Jesus ranting about a person’s moral behavior; his focus was solely on liberating people from all forms of oppression.


1 Response to “The Reign of Life”

  1. 1 krebsjoan December 28, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    Gerry IMHO the most relevant point you make here is “In the face and presence of the poor we can learn to see the face and presence of Christ.” Yes, it’s certainly not automatic.

    “The poor” are no more the “face and presence of Christ” than I am. But I can learn to see the same Christ in them that I try to mirror. As you recently said, “Everything is connected.” Christ, me, they become us but not in pre-determined steps. We become us by community immersion in the dark, the scary and the unknown. Thank you for this reminder – especially this close to a new year.


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