“The Bible tells us that Jesus had no place to lay his head (Luke 9:58), which is another way to say he was homeless. Jesus was trained in carpentry—a form of manual labor akin to low-wage work today—and he relied on the hospitality of friends, many of whom were also poor, to share meals and lodging with him. Jesus, the disciples, and those to whom they ministered were poor, subjected, and oppressed. They were the expendables. . . .
“Jesus was a poor man” is a theological statement. It is more than saying “Jesus cares about the poor,”—how Matthew 25:31–46 is often interpreted. In Matthew 25, what is usually translated as “the least of these” is the Greek word elachistoi, which literally means “the smallest or most insignificant ones”: in other words, the expendables. Jesus’s identity as one of the least of these is not a romantic, charitable notion; it is Jesus’s reality. He is saying that the social class of expendables are his people. The homeless, the poor, the incarcerated are Jesus’s friends, family, disciples, and followers, and Jesus himself…
“Interpretations of Matthew 25:31–46 that diminish Jesus’s ministry to that of charity miss the gospel message and actually help to maintain inequality. But when we understand that the Roman Empire considered Jesus to be expendable—much the same way the United States considers poor and low-income people, nearly half of the population, to be expendable—we see that being a follower of Jesus means something deeper than charity. Being Christlike means joining a movement, led by the poor and dispossessed, to lift the load of poverty.
Richard Rohr comments on Matthew 25, reminding us that:
Jesus teaches there is a moral equivalency between himself and other people. Jesus says, “Whatever you do to others, you do to me” (Matthew 25:40). How you treat other human beings is how you treat Jesus. That’s nondual thinking. Many Christians would read this statement and firmly say, “This is the Word of the Lord.” But it isn’t their actual practice. As long as they remain at the dualistic level, they can go to church and worship Jesus and be greedy, selfish, and racist an hour later, not seeing any conflict with that at all.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”