Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Pharisees and Sadducees--Liberal vs Conservative

Why are we Christians? Theologians have written books on this question. A professor in the Catholic Medical School writes an article in the Catholic Times asking himself, in these dizzy times, the same question, embarrassed that he doesn't live in imitation of Jesus.

What does it mean to live like a Christian? The first question in the old catechism was: "Why did God make me? God made me to know, love and serve him in this life and be happy with him in the next." This expresses succinctly why we are Christians.  We know our origins and needs and what is necessary to  accomplish them: to live in the way we are made is to live a fully human life.

Our life as a Christian is to be fully human. This is realized within the community of faith, the church. Those on a journey in search of this completeness are Christians. Jesus has told us he is the way, the truth, and life (Jn. 14:6). We know what we have to do. Each is called in their own particular way for the journey.

The journey is not without trials and difficulties. Often going against the stream of the times. Jesus showed us the way in his own life.  

What are we to do? We are called to build up God's kingdom, but in working to realize God's justice we have opposing understandings within the community of faith. Not a strange reality for we have seen this repeated in history from the beginning. Even in Jesus' time, we had two opposing groups who were against Jesus: Pharisees and Sadducees.  

Sadducees were happy with the status quo and were willing to go along with the political power of the times. They didn't want to rock the boat they would be considered conservatives, while the Pharisees were interested in the life to come and in following the law as they knew it, and not happy with the situation of society and wanted change, they were the liberals.
Today we can see these two schools of thought within our society. Liberals and Conservatives talking past each other, similar to what we have in the church, more ideologues than Christians. 

We need to see what the church considers important and what the church is saying. When the pastoral workers are silent we are faced with confusion. When we go against the truth we are fighting against the kingdom. We need a balance between the things of the world and our work in building up God's kingdom. Is God's justice being formed within the world? We need to look deeply into our roles as Christians and  we will find our way.