What would Jesus do? For some Christians, that’s the easy answer to every question. In every situation all we need to ask is: What would Jesus do? At a deep level, that’s actually true. Jesus is the ultimate criterion. He is the way, the truth, and the life and anything that contradicts him is not a way to God. Yet, I suspect, many of us find ourselves irritated in how that expression is often used in simplistic ways, as a fundamentalism difficult to digest.
We all know that Christians are the single most persecuted religious group, no? If we don’t, we should. But for the last two years, the Hungarian government – yep, under the controversial Viktor Orbán – has sought to remedy matters by devoting a specific part of its overseas aid budget – known as Hungary Helps – to help Christians.
The wooden sculptures that were stolen from a church in Rome and thrown into the Tiber are not considered idols by the Amazonians, says a Spanish missionary who has been living with indigenous tribes in the rainforest for over a decade.
The Mary of the Gospel is very close to us: a girl born in the mountains of Lower Galilee, in love with the young Joseph with whom she designed a family according to the tradition of her people. Then she is a mother, woman of faith, who each day had to confront difficulties and temptations similar to ours. She is not an exception but a particular person in whom God has found the full availability to realize his plan of salvation.
In today’s Gospel Matthew describes John the Baptist as an austere man (v. 4). His food was simple like that of the inhabitants of the desert. His dress was rough, a leather belt around his waist that distinguished Elijah (2 Kg 1:8), and a fur cloak—a uniform of the prophets (Zec 13:4). The whole person of John the Baptist was a condemnation and denunciation of the opulent society—then as now.