Sunday, May 5, 2013

Was Jesus Nice?

by Steve Ray on May 5, 2013

I'm OK, you're OK. Be yourself! Gotcha covered buddy!

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me. “That was not very Christ-like.” This response usually comes after being honest to the point of making someone upset.  The implication is that Jesus was a cuddly little nice guy who was always smiling, always accepting with kind words – in short NICE.

In America we tend to be pretty nice, except maybe if you live in New York City. But in contrast to the rest of the world we tend to be very polite, genteel, gracious and nice. Tour guides in other countries say that Americans are the nicest people. We transpose our niceness onto Jesus and think he was a lot like us.

But does LOVE = NICE?

Of course Jesus was loving. He is God after all and God is love (1 John 4:8). We also know that love does not always equate to NICE. God allowed Paul to have a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble (2 Cor 12:7). Three times Paul prayed for it to be removed. God said NO.  God was not acting very American. He certainly wasn’t very nice about it.

Nice is defined primarily as “pleasant or commendable, kind or friendly” (Collins English Dictionary). It originally comes from the Latin meaning “simple, silly or ignorant.”

"He's not a tame lion, afterall" Quote from Narnia series

There is such a thing as “tough love.” It is the kind of love that cares enough to be honest, to confront, to discipline, to cause temporary pain to bring about eternal glory.  On the surface “tough love” does not always appear to be nice. How often has a child, sent to the corner blurt out “You are not very nice!”

Was Jesus nice?

Like Aslan the Lion in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series, Jesus is approachable and loving, but don’t ever consider him “tame” or too cuddly. Jesus is God as well as man. He expressed the wrath and anger of God as well as the mercy and love of God.

Imagine coming to the Temple in Jerusalem one day to pray. You hear a great commotion and run over to see an angry man throwing over tables, grabbing the money from the merchants and throwing the money on the ground.

Whipping the money changers and dumping over their tables

But worse, you see him make a scourge of cords – a whip – and striking people with it. You are shocked that anyone would be so rude and destructive, so inconsiderate and mean to lash people with a whip. People ran in fear! Everyone was upset. Jesus was red in the face and scowling.  It certainly wasn’t very “Christ-like.” How nice was that?

Jesus was always loving, but he was not always nice, as we Americans count niceness. Here is just one example. Jesus spoke very harshly to his fellow Jews.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. . . .  You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Matthew 23:27,  28, 33).

Ouch! Doesn’t sound very kind and courteous: not very thoughtful or nice!

So, maybe there is more to WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) than we’ve been led to believe. Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much about being nice, being liked, acting like  genteel Americans. Maybe we ought to be more honest and forthright about the things that really matter.  Maybe we should be more willing to hurt some feelings, step on some toes, show tough love to those in sin.

Maybe we should be more Christ-like.

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Is she viable human life? Yes or no?

A nation that has given permission to parents to kill their children will not hesitate to give permission to children to kill their parents!

There is an ironic justice in the way the world works. The selfish generation that decided to legalize killing “non-viable” human babies in the womb for their own convenience have dismissed the value of human life at one end of the human lifespan.

The generation that ushered in contraception and abortion is now growing old. The younger generation learned from their elders that human life can be extinguished if it is “non-viable” or unwanted or too expensive.

As the older generation – that ushered in abortion – is now growing senile and aged, the younger generation will consider THEM to be non-viable. And since the value of human life has been done away with, the prodigies of the abortion generation will end up killing off the non-viable elderly at the other end of the life spectrum.

AND, since the older generation that ushered in contraception and abortion will now have fewer to pay for their end of life existence, it will only facilitate the extermination of the older generation since they are too expensive to keep alive and are no longer considered viable or important. Welcome to Obamacare!

Legalization of human destruction at one end of the life spectrum ushers in destruction at the other end. The elderly who were quiet and allowed abortion, will themselves become considered not work keeping alive. And since they contracepted and killed off the younger generation, who will defend them and pay to keep them alive.

Ironic justice. Sad but seemingly becoming the truth of our morally and economically crumbling country.

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We are happy to have Robyn Lee with us. She is a writer for Catholic Digest and The National Catholic Register owned by EWTN. She is a great pilgrim and is writing articles each day about our pilgrimage. Here is a picture of Robyn eating her St. Peter’ Fish today for lunch. Make sure to read her daily reports HERE.

Another great day with beautiful weather and when we could outsmart all the lines and congestion. Israel is full of pilgrims, tourists and buses, but knowing what to do and where to go helps avoid the crowds.

We started the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee where I told the story of how I went fishing all night with two Jewish fishermen. Calm seas and we could see the points of Jesus’ ministry along the shore.

We arrived at Nof Ginosar to view the ancient “Jesus Boat” from the 1st century. This is stepping back in history to the fishing world known by Jesus and his disciples.

Steve teaching on Capernaum and the Eucharist

We arrived at Capernaum for Mass. The reading is always John 6 where Jesus says, Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood.” The last verse of the Gospel reading is, “Jesus spoke these words in the Synagogue in Capernaum.” Everyone at this moment turns to look out of the window of the church and THERE IS THE SYNAGOGUE! I gave my talk, “Defending the Eucharist.”

After a delicious dinner of St. Peter’s Fish we took off for Jerusalem driving south but going UP to Jerusalem. We stopped at Ein Kerem where Mary went to visit her relative Elizabeth. All through our 2.5 hour drive I kept saying, “Remember, Mary is still walking!”

I gave my talk on Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant and Queen of Heaven. We arrived at our Notre Dame Hotel early so everyone had a few hours to relax, settle in and enjoy the place before dinner. The evening was free.

(Make sure to view Robyn Lee’s pictures and daily report at Catholic Digest)

Don’t forget to leave comments below. The pilgrims love them. I read them every day on the bus. You don’t have to be a family or friend to leave a comment :-)

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