15th March 2015
Let us not forget them
There was on the radio another report by some Christians complaining how we are now a persecuted group and should be better protected by the law.
I found myself casting my mind back to a time when I was talking to a group similarly enraged that some people had been banned from wearing crucifixes at work. Whilst I was sympathetic I’m afraid I didn’t help their mood by agreeing that ‘going to court’ was the appropriate response.
For whilst I too, wear a crucifix, (plus 2 medals of my favourite saint, St Bernadette and of the badge of Portsmouth, my football team and the city I come from) and would not like being told I couldn’t wear them, would a battle in the courts be my reaction? The answer is a clear, “No”, of course there are personal things, but when it comes to the practice of my faith they are “extras”. For example, is someone a better Catholic because, they wear a crucifix? Of course not. But this is missing the next point, which is simply this.
If Jesus found himself in such a position, what would he do?
Would he go down the court routes, to protect his rights as to what he wore? I’m sorry for all those for whom this is so important; but the answer, is “NO”. Why?
Because nothing would stop him from living out and fulfilling his mission, which focused on serving the poor, the needy, the sinner.
Many times he came into conflict with the scribes and the Pharisees over the Law and how it should be practised. If it contradicted The Law of Love, eg healing the sick on the Sabbath, he would go his own way. If this meant persecution, so be it. Even to the point of death. This was the example he gave and was followed by the first Christians. Did he opt to go down the route of the religious courts over their misinterpretations of the law? No, he just got on with it, come what may. There were those, however, who you could always go to, to defend your rights over what you wore…The Pharisees. But not Jesus! For him faith and religion was about the heart and about how you actively lived out your love of God to one another. And NOTHING should distract from that, especially what you wear. Wearing a cross is a good witness to your faith. Yes. If necessary being persecuted for that; Jesus warned this would happen. But being distracted from living and therefore, truly, proclaiming the Gospel?