Taking on the Evil One

I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth. (Jn 17)

As I write, Washington is abuzz with Benghazi and improper acts by the IRS and Justice Department. In terms of John’s Gospel, this is the world Jesus has left us in. Indeed, we need his protection from the wiles of the Evil One. We have been consecrated in truth. Like Pilate, we may ask, “What is truth?” Gospel truth is first and foremost, according to Walter Brueggemann, the realization that it is not about me. It is about us, especially the least among us—often described as the powerless widow, orphan and immigrant in the Bible.

The IRS should not target the Tea Party. Nor should Homeland Security put Pax Christi, a Catholic peace and justice organization, on the terror watch list either.  The world—government—does not tolerate opposition to its agenda whether it be war or social issues.

Nevertheless, the spirit I see in Tea Party folks is a mean-spirited selfishness perhaps best described by Tome Purcell in his Creighton daily reflection:

Why must we “help the weak” – why don’t they get a job and help themselves?  Why are they leeches on our system?  It’s the old “give a man a fish today” thing.  There are too many people looking for do-gooders to bail them out of bad decisions.  They chose to drop out of school, or to drink or do drugs, or to rob a convenience store, so why should we have to take care of them now?  It is too bad they are sick, but why didn’t they plan ahead and get health insurance?  Who says society has a responsibility to take care of these people? I worked hard for what I have.  Why should I give it away?  What’s mine is mine. (http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/051513.html)

The TEA Party arose is opposition to Health Care for All and the party sought to derail the agenda of a Black president. Obviously, I agree with those who see racist intent in the TEA Party’s agenda.

This Randian philosophy of life is the seed planted by the Evil One Jesus vows to protect us against so we can proclaim Gospel values related to the common good. What each of us has is pure gift. Like Job, we could lose everything tomorrow. If we hoard wealth, we work against the common good. Every person is created in the image of God and deserves food, clothing, shelter, education and health care. This is the truth Jesus asks us to proclaim to the world.

We are preparing to celebrate Pentecost. The feast assures us that Jesus has not left us orphans to fight the agenda of the Evil One, whatever political shape it may take. The early Christian stood over against empire and Jesus bids us to do the same.

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