EDWISE  - EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT
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Just Peace - revolutionary Jesus

I watched some of the Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican. I was especially interested in the Pope's message. He came through with advocacy for being kind to migrants forced from their lands, the outcast and the poor. He used the story of Mary and Joseph making the trip to Bethlehem, a city strange to them, where they found now sympathy and help. She gave birth to Jesus in a stable. This was a good allegory by which to bring up concern for refugees and other migrants.

In this address, Pope Francis referred to Jesus as a revolutionary. I have heard historians characterize Him as a leader of a social movement against the Roman Empire, some also using the term, "revolutionary." This claim is backed by a mounting store of historical records including excerpts from the Bible, such as the gospel of Judas, John the Baptist and that of Mary. 

The "Jesus movement" followed principles taught by Jesus and his disciples. There was no agenda to take power, but surely a message of equality and social welfare. You might be able to discern an ideal of communal living, too.

Today, Christmas day, the Pope made a straightforward opinion on Palestine. He appealed to all to pursue a peaceful resolution, namely a two-state solution. Bravo!

Pope Francis is known for his preoccupation for important social and political issues. He's been outspoken on several counts. It was intriguing to watch the faces of the clergymen and high-ranking guests of the Vatican attending the Christmas Eve Mass. While the Pope was giving his politically loaded homily, there were some frowns, looks of consternation and bowed guilty faces. I saw little expression of gladness.

I listened to another Christmas Eve service, this one somewhere in Canada, and it was also remarkable. The attendees were mostly secondary school girls, who, though a little self-conscious in front of the cameras, took in the sermon seriously. I think it was a local Bishop speaking. He put the Christmas story into a relevant framework and connected the social realities of modern life to his message. He urged people to live peacefully, kindly and modestly, paying less attention to commercial life and petty concerns and ambitions. It seemed to be an effective sermon.



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