top of page

Lenten Reflection: Why does Jesus make us uncomfortable? Part 2

In the first part, we presupposed that the Kingdom of God that is often talked about in the Bible is here on earth; that the real reason God (Jesus) came down here was to validate his kingdom. Hence, to add context to it is to begin where he was before. God was up there with “Jesus seated on the right hand of the Father” until he left for earth and assumed it back after resurrection.

We humans could not comprehend God’s and Jesus’ metaphysical presence unless we put them in their proper places by asserting that God has anatomical parts (right hand) like humans. Humans throughout history have identified the right side as the place of honor. In ancient times, battle formations had identified the right flank or the “right of the line” as the critical side. Besides, we think placing somebody on that side is the “right place.” Otherwise, it would be more difficult to envision the Trinity.

So, all along, Jesus was already watching the people on earth and didn’t like what was happening. People were just not doing it the “right way” like offering animals and humans for a sacrifice. Sodom and Gomorrah. He also didn’t like the idea that everything revolved only in that part of the world and the stories in the Old Testament were only about the plight of the Israeli people. He also didn’t like the idea that some wise guys were telling people who cared to listen, that the earth was flat. He knew it was round.

So, he came down and began asserting God’s Kingdom, “Thy Kingdom come on earth, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Meaning, Jesus knew exactly how to make the earth kingdom heaven-like (God’s Reign). In his inaugural address on the Mount, he told us that God’s Reign will be his guiding principle as he emerged from the desert after 40 days of fasting. At the desert, God’s will become clear to him. Nowadays, we call it a retreat if it takes that long. Our idea of fasting and abstinence is on Fridays only during Lent.

Jesus didn’t show up as an adult, from Christmas we go straight to Lent. His adulthood began after his water immersion on the River Jordan by John AKA “The Baptist”. His life started as an infant, cuddly baby Jesus. Apostle Thomas wrote the story on the “Nativity of Jesus” but being called Doubting Thomas, holy people doubted his version of the Nativity because he placed the baby Jesus in a cave with a motley but small crowd. The three kings would not have fit in there.

The storyline of course, is that Isaiah predicted his coming as a baby and will be called by different names because everybody wanted to claim him as their own. So, as the Messiah, people already recognized God’s reign. Since Apostle Thomas’s Nativity Story never made it to print, thus the blank years in Jesus’ life. Anyway, the critical aspect of Jesus’ human presence was when he became an adult.

Certainly, Jesus’ main crime is being called the King of Jews! Christianity, as the Apostle Paul trumpeted, was the new deal. Meaning, people should then take stock in him versus the old laws and traditions of Moses, and where all are welcome minus the doctrinal strictures and church hierarchies that mortals must deal with (then and now). He preached everywhere in and outside Israel. He even went to Asia to let people know that that was part of his Reign. He did not have a chapel or church with a label. His kingdom, that way, is boundless and not confined to some temple or place of worship that can crumble to ruble.

Jesus sought out the sinners and marginalized and toppled tables where the self-righteous and capitalists were gathered. Non-believers abound during his time in the long Sahara or by the sea, but he used numerous signs (well, the bible writers called them miracles) that demonstrated what his kingdom was like. He was a friend of sinners because he subjected himself to being one of the sinners as a human being who lived in Adam’s fallen world. He even socialized with sinners (Samaritan woman by the well, the lady with the Alabaster jar we called ‘promiscuous’).

Jesus taught in parables (some 30 of them according to Mark, Matthew and Luke) to simplify profound spiritual truths for humanity to understand and follow. You know, like Spiritual Truths for Dummies in our present culture. The Parable of the Sower sowing seeds is simple. Depending on where you sow the seeds (rocks, good soil, water, etcetera), something will grow but can have different outcomes.

To the farmer listeners, that was simple truth enough. Some seeds will not grow, others will grow but will not sustain growth, or with abundant growth in fertile or good soil. That parable has achieved its own life and has grown into multiple, albeit confusing interpretations, depending on your religious affiliation. Jesus was telling the farmers, you must exert an effort (think, labor) to make his kingdom food secure. He did not tell them to pray to somebody else (like anitos, or saints).

Similarly, the Parable of the Fishing Net (or Dragnet) is simple. Lower the net into the sea and it will gather fish of every kind. When filled, drag it to the beach and sort out the good from the not so good. The worthless fish gets thrown away. Then fishermen found out fishing can sustain life and enabled them to send kids to school. A Norwegian guy named Ole Evinrude (yak!) invented and manufactured the first practical and commercially successful outboard motor. Mayors and governors then bought their own and propelled their trawlers day and night. Fish in the kingdom became scarce. Now I know why Jesus is coming back.

Well, how about the Parable of the Ten Virgins? Literally, the story was about 10 virgins, 5 smart and 5 not so smart, who were holding their individual oil lamps while waiting for the bridegroom. It sounded like the original version of ABC’ show “The Bachelor.” The 5 smart virgins filled their lamps while the other 5 didn’t. The foolish virgins had to go back in town for oil refill because the smarties did not want to share. When they came back, the door was shut, and the bachelor was already doing his thing. The moral of the parable is that virgins should always be ready and well oiled.

The parable is about the “Last Judgement” when all will be judged. In other words, Jesus gave them a fair warning to behave in the Kingdom so they will be picked. The oil industry, of course, got the wrong message and started oil explorations. They literally took oil as an important commodity to keep things running. Well, what else is new. Somewhere down the line, the message got diluted and people gave more importance to oil than virgins. (To be continued…)


bottom of page