Hope’s Execution
Thoughts on the Second Readings by Joe Frankenfield
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
James 5:1-6

I learned in grade school that Catholics say confusing things. For instance, my teachers taught that Jesus died for my sins. How could that be since I hadn’t even done them yet? “You’ll understand when you’re older,” they told me. I never did. I learned the theory, of course, but it was more distracting than helpful.

To understand Jesus, and what it means to be his followers, we must focus on Jesus’ message. What he cared about and what he spent his entire public life preaching was the opportunity we have – rooted in the divine promise and power – to be part of God’s future. There’s a new way of living coming, a new way of doing business, a new way of getting along as a human family.

Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Forgive one another without keeping accounts. Love your enemies. Do good even to those who harm you. Care! Work for the welfare of the whole world because the whole world is your family and it’s where you live. This is the path to your fulfillment. This is the way of God. Jesus was absolutely clear. Absolutely ridiculous; dangerously foolish; impossible; treacherous: those who resisted him were equally clear.

We look at our own times and ask who is killing Jesus’ message? Who’s saying what in the papers, before the cameras and microphones, in public meetings – and around the closely-watched kitchen tables of our land?

The issue isn’t who killed Jesus two millennia ago. It’s who’s killing the hope he brings today; who’s mocking the promise while bowing to the statue.

The faith of a people isn’t measured in the number of or the names upon its places of worship. Faith is measured by the harmony of a people’s hearts with the heart of its God. Where are our hearts; where are our voices?