|Sunset on the Genesee River at Charlotte|
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:29We are human beings and so that question--What do I get out of this?--is a natural one. There have been times when I thought this was not an appropriate question to ask about religion or about the church, but I was wrong. It is always an appropriate question if we are to be fully human and to make choices that are thoughtful and considered. When the apostles asked that question, Jesus gave the reply quoted above.
What we get is eternal life, which is to say existence within the interior life of the Trinity, a life we cannot envision, cannot imagine. What we do know is that a reliance on power, connections, wealth, property, even family will not lead to that fullness of life. In fact, as the next verse reminds us, those who rely on those things and who stand first in the eyes of the world will be last in the everlasting Reign of the Divine One. Those who are last in the eyes of the world will be in the first rank in that Reign.
It was this last statement repeated in many different ways that so enraged the power structure of the urban elite of Jerusalem--because it threatened their position of political and religious power--that they demanded the death of the one who spoke such words to the peasants and ordinary people. These were "dangerous words" especially if spoken in a Jerusalem crowded with those very peasants to celebrate Passover at the Temple.
Are these still dangerous words for me and my world? Or do they roll off my back like rain on ducks? Of no consequence because I do not have ears to hear?