While driving to work during a recent snowstorm I once again witnessed what passes for civility on today’s roads. As people were trying to merge onto the highway a driver in an “invincible” all wheel drive vehicle refused to allow incoming vehicles to merge in front of their car. This driver also refused to move into the next lane because that would mean they would be following other cars including mine. Instead, this driver increased speed and cut in to the next lane, thus cutting off a line of cars forcing them to brake in the slippery conditions, all so that driver could have the satisfaction of being first.
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker ran on a platform of begining to clean up the financial mess handed down to him by predecessors who rejected their fiduciary responsibilities. He has asked public employees to accept deductions to their pay in order to help fund their own health insurance and pension plans and save jobs. Currently those plans are entirely funded by taxpayers many of whom have lost their jobs in the severe recession. As a result people who are entrusted with the care of citizens and have been the picture of sweetness and light while riding the gravy train, have been reduced to an angry mob who have collectively decided to abandon their duties, for which they are handsomely paid and have resorted to participating in fraud to prove they are “right.
Human nature has not changed since the time of Abel and Cain. People want desperately to have the best and there is nothing wrong with someone working hard to achieve a higher station in life. The wrong is done when someone chooses to allow the bait of Satan (evil) to become the motivation for their version of accomplishment, justice, power and success. During the mass at Sacred Heart Church of Cicero in the diocese of Syracuse, the priest expanded on the continuation of the sermon on the mount which is Jesus “road map of life” to all of us. A week ago Sunday congregations heard of Jesus’ warnings against ridiculing each other (Matthew ch.5, v.21-24) , because the ridicule can lead to anger with our brothers and sisters and a separation from God. That anger can lead to injury up to and including death and this is why Jesus says to us forget the doctrine of an eye for an eye and to avoid revenge (Matthew ch.5, v.38 & 39). He also instructs us to turn the other cheek, to settle for more than what is fair, to do more than we are compelled to and to treat those in need with kindness (Matthew v.5 ch.40-42). Why? Because in doing so we heap the “coals of kindness” upon those who would seek to inflict an injury and in fighting fire with fire, we deprive the situation of fuel and snuff it out.
The priest concluded with a quote from the Jewish Talmud that says God’s kingdom is the world turned upside down. Jesus expressed this quote in the teachings of the sermon on the mount that seem to be contradictory to the ways of the world. Different, eccentric, kooky, odd, strange is how the world describes these teachings and those who follow them. Our challenge is to live Jesus’ message and dare to be different.