With this week’s Gospel reading, I am reminded that being Christian means acting with compassion, trusting Christ’s abundance, and doing what is right. The events at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month have once again stirred the issues of gun control and mental health care in this country. What is disturbing me is how people are responding to these issues.
I’m not a gun expert by any means. On the other hand, I don’t have any particular issue with them, either. However, I don’t think it necessary for people to have the kind of weapons available today; guns are not toys. I didn’t see anything horrifying in the President’s plan. He didn’t say no one can buy guns. In fact, I don’t think he said anything that isn’t common sense. On the other hand, I’m not sure how likely it is that there will be a ban on certain guns, more extensive background checks, safer schools, and accessible mental health care any time in the near future.
My problem with all this is the extremely bizarre responses from some people. For example, the NRA trying to say that President Obama has some kind of double standard because his children have armed body guards. It is sad that any children would need armed guards, but it does not seem hypocritical in any way. His children potentially attract unwanted, dangerous attention. Of course, from the NRA an extreme statement like this is not unexpected. On the other hand, one of my young Facebook friends actually posted this: Obama is the new Hitler… Hitler used kids as an excuse to disarm citizens… if history repeats itself we are all ****ed! This is unbelievable! Does anyone realize that the guns referenced in the Second Amendment were very different than the assault rifles of today? For that matter, I haven’t heard many NRA folks talking about the right to bear arms being connected to slavery, either. It is so frustrating when ignorance and arrogance collide in ways that potentially endanger lives.
At the wedding feast in Cana, Mary came to Jesus with a problem: the wedding couple was out of wine. She expected him to do something about it. Maybe she thought he’d send the five disciples he brought with him to go get some more. She could never have guessed that he was about to make 180 gallons of wine. It was certainly more wine than the wedding party needed. The question isn’t so much what he did but why he did it.
Jesus could have walked away. The wedding wasn’t his wedding so he wasn’t responsible. Likely he was related to one of the couple, but that did not obligate him to do anything. However, he did what was right. He saved the couple from the shame and embarrassment of running out of wine, of not offering adequate hospitality. This doesn’t seem like such a big deal today, but it would have been rather shameful then.
Jesus responded to the expectation of help rather dramatically. It wasn’t because he wanted the attention, but he needed people to get him. He provides far more than what is actually needed. And to share in the abundance, to follow him, we need only show up and do the right thing. Have some compassion and put others first.
Jesus offers abundance to everyone. Jesus also expects us to act with compassion and to what is right. If you are putting your own self-centered desires about the well-being others, please do not do so in Christ’s name. If you do not believe that the country has an obligation to care for those who cannot care for themselves, please do not do so in Christ’s name.
RCL -Year C – Second Sunday after Epiphany – January 20, 2013
1 Corinthians 12:1-11