Where Does Jesus Stand?

With all the talk about the immigration issue there is one question that people seem to be ignoring. Where does God stand on this issue? What does He want?
It is a complex issue and I’m not sure of all the details but I do know this. Anyone, politician, writer, commentator or political party that appeals to anger or prejudice is not speaking for God. We have to understand that a large reason for our present situation is that both parties prefer to use the issue to make political points, stir up anger against other politicians and raise money than to solve the problem. In reality our politicians prefer to do nothing and blame the other side.
I also know that my ancestors came here legally. They did not sneak in but that is because they came before this country passed laws that set up quotas, laws and quotas that reflected the prejudice of this country in the 1920’s, an era when the KKK was at its strongest and prejudiced against African-Americans, Catholics and Jews. I also know that my Irish ancestors faced prejudice because of their Catholic faith. Help Wanted, no Irish need apply signs were common in most of our cities. The immigrants of the 19th and early 20th centuries only got the jobs and housing no one else wanted.
We came seeking a better life, often to escape oppression and persecution. We came because we wanted a better life for our children. So do the immigrants today. They seek to escape the poverty and violence, to keep their family safe from governmental thugs and drug cartels, to be free of the oppression of governments long supported by the U.S. during the Cold War. Unfortunately for many waiting for a visa isn’t a viable option, not when the bullets are flying.
What would Jesus expect of us? Would He expect the anger and hate we hear or read so often? Didn’t He answer that question when He said “whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren you do unto me”?
Most likely this isn’t a popular position but we aren’t called to be popular but to be true followers of Jesus who died on the cross.


What Does God Think?

In an election year the newspapers are full of polls telling us what Americans think about each issue. They break American society down in every conceivable category so it is possible for the media to state that such and such a percentage of Catholics believe in abortion. What amazes me is that people base their opinions on what they read about other’s opinions.
I often wonder who we think we are to decide that abortion is right. Why do we think we have the right to ignore the teachings of the Church? Our decisions should not be based on opinion polls or the popularity of an idea. Christians’ opinions should be based on what we think God thinks not what other people think. Where does God stand on this issue? That is the only opinion important.
There is a scary quote in the thirteenth chapter of Luke. In verse 24 Jesus says to “strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and not be able.” Basically, He says the popular way isn’t the way to Heaven; we need to do the will of the Father not what is popular in society.
It is not enough to claim to be an ardent Catholic, we have to be ardent Catholics and stand against the evils of society. We read in scripture about the Kingdom of God. We are supposed to be a part of that kingdom. Jesus is our king. Each year we celebrate the feast of Christ the King in the fall. This means more than just another feast. We are acknowledging that Jesus is really our king.
We need to think and live as if we really believe that Jesus is our king, a real king not a figurehead like Queen Elizabeth II. We need to recognize His authority in our lives. We need to serve our king not ourselves.
The first step in serving our king is figuring out what He thinks, what He wants. We do this by looking to the commandments and His teachings in the Gospel and through His Church. Where does He stand on the issue? We do this for the issue of abortion, we do this for the issue of war, the environment, social justice, women’s rights and all issues. We look to God and His law not society’s norms.
We need to study and read all of scripture not cherry pick verses that support what we want. Too often in history verses have been taken out of context to justify an evil. Slavery is one example. Social justice and civil rights have been other examples where verses were used out of context to justify evil.
Today Catholics seem to try to agree with Society but throughout history society has been wrong. In almost every age of history society has been wrong about some issue like the exploitation of the poor, the rights of women, slavery, civil rights, the environment, the treatment of Native Americans and various wars. Today we recognize the mistakes society and in many cases churches including the Catholic Church have made in the past. If American society was wrong so many times in our history what makes us think that every thing society accepts today is okay?
We need to look at what is happening in our society at all the issues and ask ourselves what God thinks, not what people think but what does God think. We do this to the best of our ability, then we do what we can to stand for justice, for what is right. This should affect every decision and our vote. Doing what God wants may mean voting against our pocketbook because of issues like abortion and war. It may mean that you vote for the loser in election after election.
We are called to do what is right not what is popular, to stand for justice not the winning side. We are called to take the ”narrow way”.