St. Matthew and his friends are on our side. I like our odds.
You a Christian? I am a Christian. I am a recovering Catholic. Have you checked out the Gospels lately? Many conservatives know how to meld religion and politics very well. I like it when one of our guys turns the tables.
As I prepared these articles I didn’t expect the passing of Teddy Kennedy. Like a whole lot of bloggers, I put a piece out stating a slightly different facet of his passing.
What I really didn’t expect was how the Gospel reading at his funeral was a sharp stick in the eye of the Congresspeople sitting in the pews.
For those who aren’t Catholic, the Mass is divided into the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Word has a number of set prayers wrapped around some variables; an Old Testament Reading, followed by a Psalm, followed by a reading from the New Testament from the Acts of the Apostles thru Revelation, to a Gospel Proclamation, to a reading from the Gospel (a selection from one of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) to a homily (a reflection by the priest of what was read).
The Liturgy of the Eucharist is essentially dinnertime (after all the reading and homilying); the priest prepares a dinner where the main course is actually Jesus Christ’s body and blood. Don’t make fun of this, this is my faith and I believe this part of my religion. I would never take a shot at what you believe.
The Christ I believe in is a tough guy. He has no problem calling out those in charge of the society for their high morals on ritual, but no room for the poor. He is the guy flipping out on the merchants’ tables in the Temple because there needs to be honor in God’s home. He calls out the rich, stating that it will be easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than to get to heaven. (The Eye of the Needle was a very narrow entrance to Jerusalem, not impossible, but extremely uncomfortable.) The Christ I believe in will call out an unproductive fig tree. Not a guy you want to cross (no pun intended).
The funeral’s New Testament reading from Romans was a great setup for the Gospel, “If God is with us who can be against us.” Catholics believe the Gospels are the actual words of Christ and therefore God. The passage reinforces what is to come.
The Gospel reading was Matthew 25:31-46. Kennedy picked out a really cool passage. He knew who would be attending his funeral; those on his side of the healthcare debate and those opposing it. The passage talks about Judgment Day and how we are to be defined by our actions. At the end of the day you are either a sheep or a goat. Sheep go to heaven and goats --- well you can read the passage yourself.
The sharp stick in the eye to those sitting there is the challenge of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and caring for the sick. Christ goes into what happens if you do as He says and what happens if you don’t. Teddy Kennedy knew what was doing with that passage by saying to those opposing healthcare, you are doing so at risk to your own soul.
If you are a conservative who shields yourself with your Bible, He is calling you out. He (and you can replace He with either Kennedy or Christ here) is saying in clear and no uncertain terms you are to care for the sick. That means all of the sick, not just some of the sick, not just the ones who were born here, or who have a green card. We are talking all the pre-conditioned, unemployed, unemployable, unenjoyable, poor, stinkin’, sweatin’ sick.
There is nothing wrong with quoting Matthew as we make our arguments to get healthcare for everyone.
If they don’t come around, they can enjoy their time with the goats.
Goat alert - added after original posting!!!!
At a Healthcare Forum in Philly, you know -- the City of Brotherly Love -- Joe Sestak was on stage with about 5 - 6 other Congresspeople. He was questioned about tort reform. The example he used was a 6 year old quadriplegic being capped at $250,000 for life. He couldn't even get the words out before being drowned out by the boos of the mostly conservative crowd.
This is exactly what I am taking about. We need to hold the moral fire to these people's feet.
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