Jesus Christ – A Rebel of His Time
Easter is celebrated at the end of the 40 days of Lent where one reflects upon the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, meditating and reflecting in preparation for his public ministry. It ends with the Holy week where one commemorates the betrayal and crucifixion and rising up on the third day.
For many, Easter is a time for self reflection, meditation, fasting and abstinence. It’s a reminder to look within. Strangely this has also translated into pious ritual of which one is expected to partake and if not, would face grave condemnation from the institutionalized church and its sanctimonious followers. Questioning doctrine is not encouraged nor is healthy discourse and debate, save for a few ‘rebel’ priests and clergy.
If one is to look at the life of Jesus – he was in fact, a rebel. A man who stood against the system, the institution and its corruption. He encouraged his followers to do the same – to be fearless in the face of the truth and face the consequences as he did. Jesus stood against the leaders and the high priests. Respected figures in society at the time. And he never backed down. His followers also questioned him, denied him and betrayed him. It is these figures upon which the faith is built. St. Peter the apostle – the first Pope – denied Jesus 3 times and yet was entrusted with the ministry of his faith as per the Bible. The rock upon which he built his church.
So what do we learn from this? Today one cannot question the church though it is rocked time and time again with allegations of corruption, politicisation and abuse including a cardinal sin – child abuse. If Jesus was around, would he expect his followers to blindly follow or question the church? Wasn’t it his questioning that exposed the temple and its ungodly activities? Why then are Christian followers today expected to blindly follow? Are we not expected to keep the checks and balances of the church by healthy debate, questioning and correcting the path if it has turned crooked?
There’s a popular hymn often sung which goes,
“To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus
All I ask, to be like him
Not in a measure, but in its fullness
All I ask, to be like him”
If we are singing such hymns, we are called then to be like the man we claim to follow. And this includes being active members of the church. Not to be reciting prayers at microphones, policing peoples’ attire or counting how many rosaries we have recited and novenas we have attended. We are called to be the church. To question, to guide and be active followers of Christ. Rebels where rebelling is required. One cannot follow ritual alone and forget the mission of Jesus. Self reflection and faith is your own baby. But the church must stand for what is right and just. No point reciting these words in prayers if we cannot practice it in our daily lives.
Be a rebel. If you claim to follow Jesus then you cannot fear the truth. May this Easter and time alone at home be that epiphany and awakening that we need to be true followers of Christ.