Good news Or Faux-Good News?

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         Good news could be in the eye of the beholder. It can depend on who is telling it, the context of it and, of course, the one hearing it.

 

         One area where we like to have good news is when there is a sense of order in our lives and particularly in how people are in relationship with one another. News of a change that comes upon us that we did not ask for can be stressful and something that can be empowering if it is a natural change for unity but bad if it is unnatural and forced on us.

 

         Such was the case with a Roman evangelist. Now when I say evangelist the image that could come to mind would be someone like Billy Graham. It is a good image of a man that came to cities with a gospel of peace that changes lives for the better if they yield to it. That message is about recognizing the agenda of God expressed in Jesus Christ with his commandment to love God and love one another. Those are elements of good news that are for the better, are natural and we will want to yield to but for hardness of heart.

 

         But that is not the image of a Roman evangelist when that term was first used. Evangelist comes from evangelion, which first meant good news: the Romans just beat a city or country in battle. The evangelist came in from Rome not as an ambassador of a nation but as the one telling the defeated that there will be a new law and order. The conquered will get along with the conquerors and with each other or else there would be grave consequences. Long live the Empire! Resistance is futile (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Very secular and very effective.

 

         A new mode of evangelization is through post-modern prisms like moral relativism (feet firmly planted in mid-air), critical theory (centering on the macro contexts of race, gender and class at the expense of dealing with personal responsibility) and materialism. Do they work? Do people get along better with the bombardment of media, legislation and man-made globalization?

 

         As I am now finishing my education as a social worker, I can tell you that the individual and the human race is made for the gospel of Jesus Christ to transform us from hurting ourselves and each other. The gospel of peace commands us to repent and invites us into a kingdom based in heaven and represented by a Church. The modern vain attempts noted above, in my view, do not work.

 

         We can say no to God wanting to “conquer” our hearts, but what if we say yes? Is being a Christian intrinsically about being beaten down in mind and heart? It would take too much space for this passage here to explain no, but I will anchor the answers to that by looking at something an ex-fisherman and first pope said once in his first papal encyclical.  

 

1 Peter 1:22-25

22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth[a] so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply[b] from the heart.[c] 23 You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.[d] 24 For

“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
    and the flower falls,

25 

but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

That word is the good news that was announced to you.

 

Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth

         It is taken for granted that one who has become a Christian has been changed deeper than skin level and obey truth as a reality.

so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.

         Here is the fruit of sincerity. This is how it is supposed to look in faith communities centered on Jesus. Have I been in one and not seen it? The call of the gospel that transforms should make us want to look at ourselves first. How can I be responsible in love?

That word is the good news that was announced to you.

         For it to keep living in us is a choice. May we yield to it, and in love, joyfully with one another.

 

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One comment on “Good news Or Faux-Good News?

  1. Sean says:

    Well stated!!!

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