The Call of John the Baptizer:
The “fat cats” who crush the weak and the scoundrels who mock the honest people, this is over!!! Riches must be redistributed: so that there won’t be too much on one side and not enough on the other.
Through this call …in the desert, John the Baptizer opens the way to the Gospel.
Luke 3: 2-14
Jesus dives into the movement of the Baptizer.
This «diving», it’s his «baptism».
Since the road ahead is not clear, he goes to the desert to take a closer look at things.
He reflects on three sure tricks that can fool people and trap them:
- On the magic of a guru living in solitude to develop, through fasting and hardships, amazing powers that would enable him to change stones into loaves and… to mesmerize the crowds. - «Rubbish!»
- On the magic which brings the «Chosen One» to reach the highest peak of religious power, wrap him in the garbs of a god, allow him to dwell in magnificent palaces and temples, from where he may impress the world with spectacular ceremonies and ex cathedra oracles. - «Rubbish again!»
- On the magic of absolute power over the world through the most sophisticated arm arsenals and banking systems.
– «Absolute rubbish!»
The three Temptations of Jesus in the desert: to become a famous guru with esoteric powers? – the supreme leader of a powerful worldwide religion?- a universal dictator who would hold the salvation of the world in his hands?
Jesus sees in these three paths the very traps of the devil!
The way of God is exactly the opposite!
So, Jesus leaves the desert and disappears among his people.
He goes back to his native Galilee which is exploited, despised and… on the point of blowing up. That is where God awaits him.
Please, read Luke 4: 14-21 and learn it by heart; otherwise, there is nothing to understand in the Gospel.
to the poor, he says: « Stand up! »
Luke 6: 20-26; 21: 28
To the woman with six lovers, who did not exist for herself, who felt guilty and … was always thirsty…
The Samaritan Woman
he whispers into her ears: « God flows in the bosom of your being like a fountain of fresh water; drink from this source, and live! »
John 4: 1-30
To Lazarus, his friend,
Jesus shouts in a loud voice: « Come out of the closet! »
John 11: 1-43
This is for all those who are afraid to speak out. In the Church, for example, there are plenty of people who do not agree with the completely outdated mentality of most of their leaders, but keep quiet and silent. They are tied up from head to foot like Lazarus in his tomb or like the mummies of Egypt in their sarcophagi…
To Zaccheus, the money-grabber, perched on a tree,
Jesus says, laughing: « Hurry down Zaccheus, I want to go to your home! » On the spot, contact is established. Zaccheus gives half of his fortune to the poor and pays back four times what he has stolen. »
It is a pity that the rich do not meet Jesus more often! ...
Luke 19: 1-10
Timaeus’ son is blind and, sitting along the road, he is begging. Jesus passes by.
The son of Timaeus shouts at the top of his voice so that Jesus may heal him. The people who accompany Jesus scold him and tell him to shut his mouth. But he shouts even more loudly. From the crowd, Jesus calls him. Timaeus’ son throws off his tattered cloak and jumps forward to Jesus. He is healed on the spot.
When people shout for justice, often, we are afraid and would like them to shut their mouth…
Mark 10: 46-52
While going around, Jesus is always accompanied by women.
For the society of the time, it is a huge scandal, but Jesus does not care.
Luke 8: 1-3
Jesus goes off to the territory nearby where the inhabitants believe in another religion. His companions think that these people who do not have the same religion as theirs are dogs. Jesus is tired. To avoid all possible discussion, he promises to himself not to do anything that would attract attention in that country. Then, a woman of that so-called «race of dogs» will make him change his mind. She sticks to Jesus’ heels and cries…like a little dog.
She throws herself at his feet, and, bathing with tears, she begs him to heal her daughter who is tortured by a strange illness and says: « Even the small dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their masters’ table! »
The Canaanite Woman
The quick-wittedness and the boldness of this woman leave Jesus flabbergasted with astonishment. At once, the little girl is healed.
Matthew 15: 21-28
It appears that if Jesus began to take interest in us, the pagans, it was because of that woman.
What a woman, just the same!
Who is God for Jesus?
For Jesus, God is better than the best of fathers (or mothers). His love is boundless, often bewildering, but always gracious and surprisingly timely.
Luke 15: 11-32
God’s Law is first and foremost justice, tenderness and sincerity, and not the sacrifices nor the religious ceremonies.
Matthew 9: 13 and 23: 23
According to Jesus, the holiest law of his God was made to make people happy and never to oppress them.
More than the law, it is the person that counts
Mark 2: 27
Let’s stop mending our old clothes! Look at that, nothing holds out! For a new world, there must be something new! So speaks Jesus.
Mark 2: 21-22
This is valid for all: for each person in particular, for politics too, for the economy, the education and, of course, for the Church!
To all those believers who pride themselves of correctly practicing the only true religion and judge others as damned,
Jesus says: «You, chapel rats, you take care of the outside of yourselves in the hope of being considered as righteous, but inside, you are totally rotten! »
And whack for the Opus Dei and the fundamentalists of all kinds!
Matthew 23: 27-28
Lazarus, the beggar covered with ulcers, is simply rotting at the door of the rich man. His only friends are the little dogs that come to lick his wounds..
You see the rich man dressed in purple? Every day, he feasts in his castle. Not a single crumb for Lazarus who is there under his nose; he does not even see him! He has no eyes but for himself…
An unbridgeable pit has grown between him and the poor, and that abyss goes on until eternity. But there, it shall be Lazarus’ turn to feast and that of the rich man to starve to death.
For if there is no justice in this world, at least there shall be some in the other!
Luke 16: 19-31
If you ask Jesus what this drawing means, he will answer:
This is a rich man who nearly chokes himself to death to enter the « world of God»…..
Matthew 19: 24
Day and night, Jesus announces the « world of God » as a reality which is already there, in our midst.
Luke 17: 21
In this « world of God », the great enter at the service of the little ones, and the last become the first. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but not more than the wonder of a tall tree which cannot yet be seen but is already present in its small seed. Or of that great treasure buried in a field, which you cannot get hold of if you do not even take the trouble to dig it out.
Matthew 20: 24-28; 13: 31-32.44-46
Actually, how to enter the « world of God »?
The answer of Jesus:
You see the poor guy left half-dead by the roadside? He has been mugged and beaten by robbers who abandon him there. A priest and a sacristan pass by, see him but continue their journey. They do not want to be late for the religious office which awaits them at the temple.
Now then, you, forget the temple, forget your business, get off your horse and, like any normal human being would do (no matter he be atheist, unbeliever, communist, Samaritan or a good christian), bend over the wounded man, take care of him, lift him up and bring him to safety on your own horse. Look after him until he recovers his strength and is able to continue his journey. You are looking for eternal youth? Do this and you shall have it!
Luke 10: 29-37
Note that the situation of this poor guy left half-dead by the roadside is that of 80% of all human beings who, for many centuries, are robbed, exploited, despised and often beaten to death, by the other 20%, of which we are part.
Organize yourself, join others, try to make things move in such a way that, one day, everybody has his fair share of the riches of the earth. This is the only way to put an end to the robbers and also to the misery of billions of wretched people who lie by the roadside….
If you act as I tell you, you will necessarily swim against the current.
But do not be afraid! The future lies in the direction I am showing you.
Mark 4: 35-41
You will be confronted with the SYSTEM ( in the Gospel, it is called «Legion», hinting at the hateful Roman troops which shockingly were occupying Jesus’ country at that time).
The madman of Gerasa
That System, still in very good shape today, has a thousand lives… and no heart.
In its eyes, a pig is by far much more valuable than a human being...
Do not let it infect your soul. Unmask it!
Throw it into the bottom of the sea with its billions of peers!
Mark 5 : 1-20
Alone, you cannot do much; it is evident. Then, join a movement, an organization, a community. Join others…
John 13: 34-35; 17: 21
« As a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, so I wanted to gather you, but you would not let me… »
While saying that, tears roll down Jesus’ cheeks.
Luke 13 : 34 and 19 : 41-42
The tourists are overcome with admiration: «What an architecture! What a beautiful mosque! What a palace! What a wonderful bank! What a church!»
Jesus is not impressed. He knows that most of those monuments have been built out of pride at the expense of the poor. He says: « All this will crumble into dust! ».
He goes on to affirm that God does not need a temple to be worshipped. His temple is alive and inside people.
If we love people, we see to it that they are respected in their every right; it is then that God is loved and adored in spirit and in truth. In this lies the will of God. Ever since.
Matthew 24: 2 and John 4: 19-24
The temple’s square is crammed with shops. There swarms a mafia which light-heartedly takes advantage of the religion to make a packet. Jesus is fed up.
He arms himself with a whip and, with the help of his supporters, kicks out all this scum. « Out, you thieves! »
(Beware! This is also « Word of God! »)
What anger, what boldness, what strength! This Jesus has just done what Jeremiah had announced six hundred years earlier (Jer 7: 1-15).
The priests are indignant. The whole business of the temple’s square is under their control. They too have rights! After all, it is they who, behind the Romans, hold the political power of the country. Well, it is this power that Jesus has just challenged. The people have witnessed it! In the priests’ eyes, Jesus is obviously a dangerous subversive guy, and an atheist besides, for he does not even respect the temple! Never will they forgive him this dirty trick. They are going to kill him.
John 2: 13-19
Then, Jesus gathers some companions for a last meal. He says to them: « They are going to kill me».
«With my life, I wanted to teach you only one thing»:
« Each time you gather to remember me, you shall share the bread and wine recalling the words I have just said:
«These words are my flesh and they are my blood. You shall make them your bread, your life, your song, and you shall proclaim them to the entire world. I shall then live in you and you in me».
Matthew 28: 20
And then they killed him, as what happens to most of those who… unmask the System.
He is dead!
Matthew 28: 4
But… on the third day, at dawn…
The stone is rolled over
Luke 24 : 1-3
Rabboni! He is risen!
Mary of Magdala at the tomb, on Easter morning
Look, a woman again! Who could be the first person to see him alive except a woman?
John 20: 16
The youngest man and the oldest one run to the tomb.
Peter and John running to the tomb
The youngest arrives first…
The oldest wants to check things…
The youngest believes. John 20: 4
For many, the adventure of Jesus has been a complete flop. It was too beautiful to be true! The matter is now closed! Let’s move to other things!
The disciples of Emmaüs
Jesus himself walks with them, but they do not recognize him.
Luke 24 : 13-35
Because he never presents himself the way we are used to imagining him… He always catches people unawares.
Those who believe that everything has already been fixed, with no room for something new, cannot see him… They follow a dead person, not a living one.
We must jump out of the aquarium and risk the open sea…
Luke 5 : 4
We decide to come out of our granary. We plough the world all over and we generously sow it with plenty of the good seeds of the Gospel… without forgetting its «salt».
And why not add a dash of «hot spice? »
(Matthew 5: 13)
That’s not all. In these pages, I have, for example, said nothing about the titles which are common in a Church which is so sure of being a copy/paste of the Gospel… In the Church, some people are still called: «His Holiness, His Eminence, His Excellence, His Grace, Reverend Father, Reverend Mother… », all of this stuff thanks to the carpenter of Nazareth!!! (Over the recent decades, we have made some progress for sure, but… come on!).
Neither did I say a single word about violence, war, tortures, because, I’m afraid, it would be useless, for many Christians are convinced that those miseries, after all, are not so bad… They believe that they are necessary evils. They do not pray to put an end to wars, but to win them… Yeah…
I have not spoken about sex, because if I seriously stick to the Gospel, sex seems to have been the least of the worries of Jesus.
As for justice, riches and poverty, I have been more explicit, but, however, not as much as the Gospel does. It is only out of concern for the heart condition of my most sensitive readers that I have opted for moderation.
Of course, we shall never believe that « the last shall be first.»
The Quebec Christ (please, take notice below of his beautiful blue feather!)
says to us just the same:
« Now you know where… I stand. Bye bye! »
Translated from the French with the gracious collaboration of my good friends, N.B and J.B.