Friday, April 29, 2016

The Teachings of Jesus No. 4


Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall be filled.


Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novels and now movies, “The Hunger Games,” are set in a dark future following the moral and economic destruction of North America. Survivors comprise the wealthy and the poor and the vast distance between them. The wealthy class hunger for entertainment and have devised a cruel form of it requiring games of death. “Tributes” are selected in a national lottery, mostly poor teens, who are pitted against other teens in dangerous settings that eventually allow only one surviving winner. The rest are killed off by each other one by one. The poor class of course sees no humor or entertainment in these games and hunger instead for survival, for justice, for some way to end the madness. It’s a world of twisted values and wasted living. There are, however, parallels to this and the words of Jesus. There have always been those who crave wealth and power, who tolerate mindless violence, who are amused by the mistreatment of others. Character, compassion, fairness, human kindness, means little or nothing to them. Winning. Accumulating. Consuming. Using. Those are the forces that drive them. And then there have always been people who love, who play fair, who follow a normal system of laws and regulations and work to make life better for themselves and others. So, hunger and thirst are created by want and need. We have to decide what we really want from ourselves and for ourselves. What is our deepest hunger? Is it money? Expensive things? Affluence? Power over others? Control? Or is it something more accountable than that? Righteousness is not prudishness, not sanctimonious talk, and not religious posturing. Righteousness has to do with responsible living. Justice. Equality. Caring for others. Feeling the hurts of anyone mistreated, abused, or devalued and then doing something to relieve their pain. I think of displaced immigrants. Vilified minorities. Hated transgenders. Abused children. Women struggling with abortion. People caught in addictions. Righteousness means being a decent human being. It means humane living. It is feeling the ache and the suffering of someone else. It is lifting up the oppressed and fighting for the terrorized. Anyone hungering for that gets filled. ~ TM   


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