Monday, May 11, 2009

Jesus the Revolutionary

After a week I think I can write about something vexing.

A week ago was the first time I ever had a priest at mass tell me with a straight face in the homily that “Jesus was a revolutionary.” (OK, I lead a sheltered life)

Now the moon is revolutionary because it revolves around the earth, and the earth is revolutionary because it revolves around the sun; but I don’t think that is the construction the average person would put on that statement.

Computers were considered “revolutionary,” as are new cleaning products, but that construction, if it is what he meant, seems to trivialize Jesus to the point of a Mr. Clean. Possible that was what was meant.

However, the characterization of “revolutionary” when applied to Jesus always seems to be in the context of opposition to the power structure in place at his time, and by extension, following this “revolutionary Jesus” is seen as an opposition to the perceived (and often imaginary) power structure in place in our time (usually the bad-old institional church).

The characteristic of this sort of revolution, is always the taking of power by force.

The characteristic of Jesus, is that He already had ALL POWER, and He chose to renounce it all on the cross.

Thus, it seems to me that one who uses power to take power can be said to be against (anti)christ. To apply this construction to the opening statement above, is to make Christ opposed to Christ, and then you might as well call Him Beezlebub. (Lk 11:18)

But if you want to think of Him as the ultimate Mr. Clean, then get to the confessional where he will make you whiter than snow. (Isaiah 1:18)

1 comment:

  1. Great post.

    The fact is, Jesus WAS revolutionary, but not in the political sense, as you say, in which this is so often taken.

    He was revolutionary in the way He treated sinners, in the way He had compassion on the sick and suffering, and in the way He treated women.

    He was revolutionary in the way He revealed the TRUE meaning of the Law, and Himself as the fulfillment of it, and revolutionary in His complete self-offering on the Cross as the sacrificial lamb, the suffering servant.

    Yup, Jesus was revolutionary, but He didn't unseat earthly authority. He supported it and tried to direct the people to a greater authority, a more important authority, an eternity that transcended anything Rome could do to them. To believe in Him, to follow Him...remains revolutionary.

    I just wish those jokers who fell into the historical-critical and redaction pits that isolate themselves from the actual import of the scriptural texts would climb out of those graves instead of trying to drag the rest of us in with them.