15

Pal Jesus is a Myth

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”

Matthew 25:  14-30

One of the more appalling aspects of Christianity in the past half century is the growth of viewing Jesus as some sort of insipid forgiveness machine, a pal Jesus who will ever give us a thumbs up, no matter how wretched our behavior.  The Gospels give us a very different portrait of Jesus.  The above reading is typical:  a Jesus who expects much of us and who will punish those of us who fail to match His expectations.  In many ways the above is a terrifying passage because it is so at odds as to common perceptions of Jesus.  The prime mission of the Church is to convey the Truth of Christ, and if popular perceptions of the Second Person is any guide, the Church is failing appallingly, currently, at that task.

We must also recall the love of Christ of course which rescues us from the sin of despair.  However, like any love worthy of the name it requires much of us.  Christ calls us to take up our cross and follow Him.  It is almost a trite statement today.  In his time it was shocking, fully as shocking as a priest telling us that we must take up our electric chairs, or gas chambers, and follow Christ.  The early disciples of Christ knew how demanding, and sometimes dangerous, it was to follow Christ, and yet they did so.  May we have a fraction of their wisdom, faith and raw courage.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

15 Comments

  1. Good morning Donald.

    In agreement with the ( everybody gets a trophy ) at the conclusion of The Game, being a troublesome trend in many churches today.

    Recognizing the talent and from where the talent originated is a process to say the least.
    Then taking the leap of faith and trusting in God to share, or invest, in that talent is difficult for many. Too much to risk will be the reason or better yet, the excuse used when settling our accounts with God.

    Never be ashamed of the Gospels! The world and those worshipping the world are not being helped by clergy who hand out trophies to all players. God has his playbook and it takes moxie to be a first string team player. An investor for the team. Body and soul.

  2. People need to read Revelation 19:11-16, because it ain’t pretty. One day the hammer is a’gonna fall and there will be a reckoning. That innocent baby in a manger will return as the Warrior King riding a white horse, armed with a massive sword and wearing a robe dripped in blood.

  3. Yes. Too much Happy Talk.
    Perhaps you’ve seen the meme that goes…
    When asking “What would Jesus do?” remember that using whips and turnover tables is a possibility.

  4. I think the “pal Jesus” myth was concocted by secular humanists. They also subvert and politicize to advance their fell purposes the Gospels.

  5. And here in Australia, our Church stays silent at the mockery of Our Lord. And leaves the dirty work up to the faithful, who have to endure prosecution because of the Church’s laziness. The Church needs to come to the defence of this young man. Instead of pandering to the depraved gay community that it falls head over heals trying to embrace.

    What would Jesus do? His Divine Justice on this earth couldn’t come sooner…

    https://www.change.org/p/nsw-police-i-stand-with-ben?recruiter=25661078&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial.combo_new_control_progress_110217winners

  6. Well, there are two ways to look at this:
    1) Jesus chasing the money lenders out of the Temple and calling the Pharisees “whitened sepulchres”, rotten inside;
    2) Sending the woman who committed adultery away to sin no more, and coming in a vision to Saul the persecutor.
    Let’s not forget Jesus preaches mercy and forgiveness.

  7. I Trust only in Jesus, everyone else pays cash.
    You know, something’s gotta give soon.
    I’m not the smartest catholic when it comes to the Vatican and all those offices…
    But I know something is not right…

    I’m not a good reader but I understand the bible and those important end times warnings..

    I believe that there is going to be a worldwide church with endless abominations, heresy, paganism, perversion, and a worship of Man and Environment and Science…

    But this diabolical church will attract billions of people to include Catholics. There will be alot of Catholics and clergy, cardinals and bishops who won’t go into this new church.

    I don’t think it’s going to take along time for this new church to be up and running…

    It seems to being pushed faster and faster into existence by some unseen force working hard through mankind, kind of,,, like,, it’s got to happen tomorrow..

    But something got to happen,,, the population looses interest in anything in time….

    Something has to happen that affects every person all at once…

  8. BOB KURLAND “Let’s not forget Jesus preaches mercy and forgiveness.”
    Mercy and forgiveness must be sought after. If generations of young people are not taught to seek the TRUTH, neither will they seek mercy and forgiveness.

  9. Here is the end of the Reflection I gave this morning at the Liturgy of The Word with Holy Communion, which I officiate at every Monday morning, because we have no Monday morning Mass at our church of St. Mary Immaculate here in Tauranga, NZ.
    This is based on the first reading from 1 Maccabbees, for the Monday of the 33rd. week of Ordinary Time:
    “……….Our reading picks up the story at this point. On the day which corresponds to 8 December 167 BC, Antiochus erected the “abomination of desolation” in the Temple at Jerusalem. This was an altar to the pagan god Baal or the Olympian god Zeus which was erected on the Jewish altar of holocausts in the temple. It was not unlike the French revolutionaries who placed a statue of a naked woman as Venus on the high altar of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in 1793 and called it the Temple of Reason.
    However, not all the Jews accepted this situation. There were those who stood their ground and refused to comply. They would not eat food which they regarded as unclean. “They chose death rather than profaning the holy covenant.” Many of these paid for their courageous resistance with their lives. Once again, the suffering of the people was partly attributed to their own former sins, and It was the beginning of a bitter struggle to preserve Jewish integrity Law and culture in Antiochus’ kingdom.
    As Christians we can face similar problems although they may vary a great deal in intensity. There are now strong pressures on us to conform to the prevailing cultures of our society which involve paying homage to various idols such as materialism, consumerism, success, status, and power, sexual deviance including pornography and homosexuality, and its various offshoots including abortion, contraception and so called same sex marriage. Among Catholics some have taken this culture on board and subscribe to it as did some of the Israelites in our reading. It is not easy to walk a truly Christian path through our societies and, if we do, we can expect criticism, resistance and abuse, violence and persecution. Like the Israelites, we need to keep away from everything that is unclean or tainted with falsehood, greed, hatred or violence. The covenant we have made with Our Lord is to follow his commandment of unconditional love at all times and with every person”.
    There is certainly something rotten in the Church today, and the stench is becoming overpowering.

  10. To me the ‘Talent’ parable is all about risk and reward. Bishop Barron says that ‘talent’ means love. We are given a certain amount of ability to love and we are to invest it in our relations with God and others. We either use it or abuse it by not loving. The more we love the more we gain with heaven being the ultimate goal.

  11. “Let’s not forget Jesus preaches mercy and forgiveness.”

    Quite right Bob, but of course that is not all that He preached:

    36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

    37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

    39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

    41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

    42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

    43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

    44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

    45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

    46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

    47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

    48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

    49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

    50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

    51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Matthew 24: 36-51

    We should act in such a way that we neither presume upon the mercy of Christ nor fear His justice.

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