By RUDY D. LIPORADA
The current supreme head of the Catholics, Pope Francis had said “It has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians. Christ spoke of a society where the poor, the weak and the marginalized have the right to decide. Not demagogues, not Barabbas, but the people, the poor, whether they have faith in a transcendent God or not. It is they who must help to achieve equality and freedom”.
The Pope’s statement had led me to believe that there is more to Easter than the traditional beliefs peddled around by Christians. While the belief is that God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, on earth to die on the cross and rise again from the dead on Easter Sunday to save mankind from sin, I cannot now help to think of why his Roman tormentors and those Jews really wished him dead.
While I do not question the truthfulness of the Bible, I cannot also question the revelations of history – then and now. History is replete of events, of epochs where conquerors oppressed the conquest; where upper classes exploited the lower classes; where exploited classes rose, following leaders, and topple their exploiters. The Roman empire was no exception.
Moreover, again, while I do not question the truthfulness of the bible, we might want to consider that it could be incomplete. Christians had always been told that the meaning of the word bible is good tidings and that it is the word of God through the writings of inspired holy men. However, according to David Lieder, a writer and teacher on spirituality “the practical truth is that a man named Constantine – supreme ruler of the Roman Empire around 307 A.D. – led a group of about 100 scholars, politicians and military leaders to destroy most books about Jesus and keep a small number of 74 books that supported the government and still gave the Christians a solid Bible that could be used to give hope to the masses. In this way, Constantine cemented his authority as a ‘friend of God’ and yet was able to burn hundreds, possibly thousands, of books about religion and even Jesus Christ that were a threat to the government of that time. Constantine created a clever and powerful justification for power that has been called ‘divine right rule,’ a claim that has since been used by earth rulers for thousands of years, and which is still used by many leaders on earth today as justification for their actions and authority over the masses.”
So, going back to our core question: Why would the Roman empire and those Jews want Jesus Christ killed? In Matthew 12:14, the apostle says, “But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.” Why? Because in Matthew 23:23, the apostle quotes Jesus saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former”.
Justice, mercy, and faithfulness for whom? Obviously, it should be for the followers of Jesus, a carpenter, who are the poor.
Why would the Pharisees neglect the poor? Because, as appointed vassals of the Roman empire, they had to protect their self-interests. In so doing they had to protect the status quo of their times. Moreover, while Jesus appeared not to incite taking up arms against the Roman empire, it could be assumed that his capability to draw crowds among the poor made the Romans nervous and would not take any chances against potential uprisings. Thus, when an individual could be a threat or appear even just a little seditious, the Romans act swiftly and harshly. Jesus was then crucified like most slaves and suspected revolutionaries.
Just how would Jesus be suspected to be seditious? Consider His seven-corporal works of mercy: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit those in prison, comfort the sick, and bury the dead. They may appear just to be nothing but they are directed for the poor and anything pro-poor would not be for the rich. Plus, who are being imprisoned if not mostly the revolutionaries? These should really make the Romans nervous and the Pharisees insulted for neglect of their duties to their constituents. And who would not be nervous when it is proclaimed in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And so, who are being imprisoned today for making governments nervous?
They are those who proclaim that they are serving the people even willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice of dying like Jesus Christ for according to Him in Matthew 22:37-40, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” And they are branded as communists.
To these biblical precepts, I believe, hangs the statement of Pope Francis saying, “It is the Communists who think like Christians.”
After all, the word ‘communis’ in Latin, is an adjective which means common, universal, or generally shared. What was wrong with universal sharing? Moreover, this was also rooted in Christian history and doctrine. In Acts 4:32, it says “Things were common among them”. Translated in Latin, it says “Erant illis omina communia”. A rule of St. Augustine also says, “Call nothing your own, but let everything be yours in common” or “Et non dicatis aliquid proprium sed sint vobis omnia communia”.
Is the bible communist? Is Saint Augustine and all the saints communists? Didn’t Jesus Christ make himself equal to the apostles by wearing similar sandals as them and eating the same enliven bread and fish with them and very much in ‘communis’ with them?
All I know is that like how Christ died for making the Romans nervous, communists are hunted to die by governments they oppose.
But their beliefs resurrect again and again
Happy Easter! # nordis.net