Who lived out the Gospel? John or Jesus?
John the Baptist was the original tea totaller (not really-he was part of a sect/party that practiced prohibition as a lifestyle, viz. the Nazrenes).
Jesus loved to party. Consider the nature of Jesus’ first miracle (cf John 2). For Jesus, evangelism was eating, drinking and preaching to the spiritual lower crust. Granted Jesus was perfect and the Son of God, but you get the point. If you haven’t been possessed by the mysterious spirit of godliness (I Timothy 3:13-16) you might assign both Jesus and John to the dark side.
The Church decides.
The Church decides.
Paul believes the baseline for authority is not the Bible but the Church. He writes to Timothy:
“You should know how to behave in the household of God,
which is the Church of the living God,
the pillar and foundation of truth.
Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion.”
There are hundreds of orders in the Church each possessing its unique spirit of godliness. Many orders are more than 500 years old with generations of good deeds as their “children” and “great is the mystery of their devotion.”
When Mother Theresa passed away, I heard more than one TV preacher say, “Too bad she wasn’t a Christian.” If the religious elite doesn’t think much of your Christianity, rejoice your reward might be as great as Mother Teresa.
Mother Teresa’s comments on today’s reading.
People are often unreasonable,
Illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
People may accuse
You of selfish motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
You will win some false friends
And some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness,
They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It never was between you and them anyway.