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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Jesus’ teachings on justice and love should be applied to all aspects of life

Jesus’ teachings on justice and love should be applied to all aspects of life

The following article is taken from the Louisiana Interchurch Conference newsletter by its director Fr. Dan Krutz. His article, entitled What Was He Thinking?, addresses some of the problems we face today in our country when we don’t follow Jesus. While our Constitution forbids the establishment of a national religion, Jesus’ teachings should be applied to all aspects of life.

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

Following Jesus was a real challenge for his disciples. Can you imagine? Just when his followers were about to send off a crowd of people to find their own food after they’d been with them all day, Jesus says to them, “You provide them something to eat!”

He tells others to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. What does Jesus see that we don’t see that would cause him to make such demands, to have such high expectations? What was he thinking?

When we look around our world, it would certainly help if we heeded Jesus. America seems very conflicted at this time in our society, and it’s not difficult to see that some people might be seen as enemies.

In the political landscape, the intensity of the rhetoric seems to have fueled violence in a number of instances around the country and most recently with the shooting of one of our own members of congress.

Tensions are also very high because the health care system may change dramatically if a bill presented to the U.S. Senate that eliminates coverages for the working poor and other vulnerable populations is supported. There are racial and economic divides that can easily cause enmity to spring up as a demonic spirit that will not be satisfied.

One might ask, “Where is the justice? How may our faith inform our actions and influence others?”

Morality plays a key role in the decisions we make, and our ethical commitments based on Gospel values and the Love Command are absolutely essential teachings in serving others in the name of Jesus.

To take one example: America may have the best health care in the world, but fewer people today are able to afford it. Corporations and employers in general are burdened by the expense of healthcare for their employees. Government is burdened by paying for healthcare for the poor, the elderly.

What shall we do? We’re to find the money and resources to make it happen. More deeply we are called to love one another including our “enemies” that we might serve others.

Sometimes it seems easier to defend our ideologies than it is to stand up for our faith. Jesus was always pushing the envelope, challenging his followers to live life differently. We are called to love our enemies; beyond that how do we respond? Does faith teach us that people must earn their way and pay for health care? A multitude of legitimate millions cannot. It would seem that God is calling us to stand up for those who have no voice.

Maybe Jesus had great expectations and made such demands because of a vision of human life truly fulfilled. We look at our children and think of what potential they have for their lives, and we hope they’ll achieve everything they want to accomplish.

As a nation celebrating another anniversary, we join with millions of other citizens to ask God to shine a light on our future. We pray fervently for the grace to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. We pray for peace as we strive for a more just society.