Now, I’m not saying that I’m an admirer of Che Guevara, but I do believe firmly that there was a radical and arguably apocalyptic side of Christ that has been emasculated, bled out, and softened in our popular piety. It wasn’t all sweetness all of the time. He had some pretty tough things to say at times, and the rich were often his target, but that leads me to Friar’s other post - St Vincent De Paul . Friar posits this challenge:
All of us who do charitable service, works of justice, or community organizing need to ask ourselves why we are doing these things on behalf of the poor. Is it because we love them? Or is it because we hate the rich? Or maybe it's because of our righteous indignation at the systemic injustice of this world. Or maybe, God forbid, it's our liberal guilt that motivates us.
Love is the only valid motive for our works of Christian service. Indeed, it's the only valid motive for anything. After all, it's the only motive God has ever known.
Well now, that’s food for thought… Food for thought. How much of our concern for the poor is really resentment towards the wealthy? How much of that anger is justified as righteous indignation at injustice in the world, and how much of it is petty jealousy? Can it sometimes be reverse snobbery?
By the way, my favorite pop art image of Jesus is Jesus the Carpenter by Frances Hook, although I’m not crazy about Hook’s other images of Jesus. An honorable mention goes to the image below of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I suppose I’m sentimental about it because I remember seeing this or a similar one on the wall of just about every house I ever stepped into in Ireland.