Magazine article U.S. Catholic

What Did Jesus Know Anyway? to Prevent Confusion, We Need to Protect the Faithful from Jesus'less-Than-Helpful Impulses

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

What Did Jesus Know Anyway? to Prevent Confusion, We Need to Protect the Faithful from Jesus'less-Than-Helpful Impulses

Article excerpt

REFUSING COMMUNION TO PEOPLE IS A LONG AND honored tradition. Since the time of Jesus himself, selfless religious men have made it their business o protect the Lord from the importunate and the greedy, from the unworthy and the inconvenient.

What did Jesus know, really? Any good PR person can tell you that founders of movements are often unable to see the implications of their actions once the movement is established. Founders go on harking back to days gone by, clinging anachronistically to the "original concept" and refusing to see that progress requires change. That's where a good PR department comes in.

A few quick examples:

* Children. Everyone agrees that they are a nuisance. They cry or talk in the middle of long sermons, and they want to play when it is time to be serious. The apostles knew what they were doing when they kept such little ones at a distance, however much Jesus insisted that "of such is the kingdom of heaven" and even said adults should become like them.

* Lost sheep. Any sensible herdsman will tell you that 99 sheep in the fold are better than one lost in the wilderness, yet Jesus was still bent on finding that one stray and bringing it safely home. What do you do with a man who can't even do simple arithmetic?

* Hungry crowds. These types are definitely best left to fend for themselves, and the apostles said as much to Jesus whenever the opportunity came up. Jesus, however, kept being "moved to pity." "Where will they find food at this hour?" he wanted to know. "Give me what you've got, and I'll see what I can do". It didn't matter that the apostles knew the crowds should be left to their own devices--Jesus had other plans.

* Tax collectors and sinners. Although it is obviously sensible to avoid meeting such people in public, Jesus seemed to enjoy their company--even going out of his way to meet them. "These are the people I was sent to save," he said when questioned. "Healthy people don't need a doctor; sick people do". The present situation of bishops refusing Communion to pro-choice legislators is just a modern version of the same old issue. Today's church leaders have taken one of the more lucid sayings of Jesus himself as their inspiration as they tell us (though not in so many words, of course), "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs" (Matt. …

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