On status

Status! How did God deal with it? And how did Jesus deal with it?

At the visit our Blessed Virgin, Elizabeth said, “How does this happen to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?”

Remember! “While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed” (Lk 11:27)

Thus, the other ordinary women regarded Mary for being the mother of Jesus merely a status, a privilege, a prestige.

Never did Mary expose her “so called” great status to her neighbors or others throughout her life. It was a quiet life, a submissive life before God and others. No status!

Like the mother like the son. Elizabeth said, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Lk 1:42)

Jesus also said, “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor dies a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its fruit.” (Lk 6:43,44; Mt 12:33)

Jesus did not regard status in dealing with others or relating with others. Jesus wanted to change the human perception on so-called status.

¯When you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place.” (Lk 14:10)

¯Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Mt 18:4,5)

¯ The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-collector who went to pray in the temple: Jesus concluded it, saying, “I tell you, this man (the tax collector) went down to his home justified rather than the other” (Lk 18:9ff)

¯Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than” the rich people. (Lk 21:1ff)

¯For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (Mt 9:13)

¯The last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Mt 20:16) “The least among all of you is the greatest.” (Lk 9:48)

¯ When others were indignant with James and John, Jesus offered them a clear instruction. “Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave.” (Mt 20:26,27)

¯Good Samaritan: Jesus did not want a barrier between a Jew and a Samaritan. (Lk 10:25ff)

¯ Lazarus and the rich man. In many ways Jesus gave importance to Lazarus, a poor, sick and dying man. (Lk 16:19ff)

¯ The laborers in the Vineyard: Jesus made all the workers equal irrespective of the hours they worked. (Mt 20:1ff)

¯ Jesus praised the spirit of gratitude of the Samaritan for his healing from leprosy over his other companions, the Jews. (Lk 17:11ff)

¯Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Mt 21:31)

¯ In his parable of the Prodigal son, Jesus gave a glorious welcome to the “black sheep” of the family. (Lk 15:11ff)

¯The Last Judgment: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Jesus made the “so called” the insignificant people in human society equal to himself. (Mt. 25:31ff)

On the contrary, we find the opposite in the attitude of the Pharisees, the common people and even the chosen disciples of Jesus.

¯ When Jesus went to dine with Zacchaeus, the people remarked, “Look, he has gone to dine with sinners” (Lk 19:7); On another occasion, Pharisees and Scribes commented, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (15:2) STATUS!

¯ Simon the Pharisee who had invited Jesus for a dinner in his house said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him – that she is a sinner.” (Lk 7:39) STATUS!

¯ James and John requested Jesus, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” (Mk 10:37) STATUS!

¯ Peter objected to the prediction of Jesus’ suffering and death, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” (Mt 16:22) STATUS!

¯ Jesus came to Simon Peter who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” (Jn 13:6) “You will never wash my feet” (13:8) STATUS!

¯ The Samaritans did not receive Jesus into their village. Therefore, James and John said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Lk 9:54) STATUS!

¯ The 12 disciples did not want to give any attention to his prediction of the manner of his great suffering and death at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes. (Mt 16:21) STATUS!

¯ We feel sad about the apostles for not following Jesus in his way of the cross and at the crucifixion. One important reason could be that they did not want to witness the shameful, the most shameful form of death through the cruelest suffering of their master. STATUS!

Living by status or living for status is nothing to do with God, the divine. It is merely human. It is not Christian.

What did Jesus do with his divinity in order to save humanity?

In the words of St. Paul, “Jesus Christ, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:6-8)

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (Jn13:34)

Yes! Human status is nothing before God. It is only human. It is not Christian.

Hope we exchanged our Christmas gifts with the Christmas spirit of love instead of exhibiting our human status.

¯¯¯

Fr. Jayaseelan Amalanathan is from Chennai, South India, now working as the Parochial Vicar for the parishes of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Lewistown and St. Jude church, Mifflintown. Continuing the ministry of Jesus Christ for 29 years, he spent his ministry in India toward the uplift of the most deprived and marginalized people and was awarded in the year 2015, the title of “Doctor of Divinity” (Honoris Causa) by the Academy of Ecumenical Indian Theology and Church Administration.

COMMENTS