Posts Tagged ‘Great Commandment’


Since there have been institutions, whether it is service clubs, political parties, businesses, government, religions or even capitalism there has been those who are “in” and those who are “out”. These are dependent on pre-set rules by the in-group (or in the case of religion, the righteous) to the stratification of the other. This is the challenge when hearing the ancient stories of Brother Jesus.  For in the last 100 years we have been taught to take a literal reading of the biblical text. It ignores context, or history or anthropology or sociology of the time. But it goes beyond that, it also strips the hearing of the story as the literature it is. A Gospel is a political manifesto woven into a life narrative.

Pause and think about that. By sharing this story each hearer, speaker and recorder was putting their very life on the line. Why? Well treason is a big thing today, and it was a bigger thing back in the day when certain folks weren’t even seen as people. But I digress.

Whether it is the Gnostic texts, synoptics, Johannine, other gospels or this Aquarian it is written in such a way to percolate contemplation, discussion and questioning of the societal norms of the era it is from, but also within the era of today.

Simply take today’s text, Aquarian Gospel 119:

The people of Capernaum welcome Jesus. Matthew gives a feast. The Pharisees rebuke Jesus for eating with sinners. He tells them that he is sent to save sinners. He gives lessons on fasting and on the philosophy of good and evil.

1. The news soon spread through all the land that Jesus was at home and then the people came in throngs to welcome him.
2. And Matthew, one of the twelve, a man of wealth, whose home was in Capernaum, spread forth a sumptuous feast, and Jesus and the foreign masters and the twelve, and people of all shades of thought, were guests.
3. And when the Pharisees observed that Jesus sat and ate with publicans and those of ill repute they said,
4. For shame! This man who claims to be man of God, consorts with publicans and courtesans and with the common herd of men. For shame!
5. When Jesus knew their thoughts he said, They who are well cannot be healed; the pure need not be saved.
6. They who are well are whole; they who are pure are saved.
7. They who love justice and do right need not repent; I came not unto them, but to the sinner I am come.
8. A band of John’s disciples who had heard that John was dead were wearing badges for their dead;
9. Were fasting and were praying in their hearts, which when the Pharisees observed they came to Jesus and they said,
10. Why fast the followers of John and your disciples do not fast?
11. And Jesus said, Lo, you are masters of the law; you ought to know; perhaps you will make known your knowledge to these men.
12. What are the benefits derived from fasts? The Pharisees were mute; they answered not.
13. Then Jesus said, The vital force of men depends on what they eat and drink.
14. Is spirit-life the stronger when the vital force is weak? Is sainthood reached by starving, self imposed?
15. A glutton is a sinner in the sight of God, and he is not a saint who makes himself a weakling and unfitted for the heavy tasks of life by scorning to make use of God’s own means of strength.
16. Lo, John is dead, and his devoted followers are fasting in their grief.
17. Their love for him impels them on to show respect, for they have thought, and have been taught that it is sin to lightly treat the memory of the dead.
18. To them it is a sin, and it is well that they should fast.
19. When men defy their consciences and listen not to what they say, the heart is grieved and they become unfitted for the work of life; and thus they sin.
20. The conscience may be taught. One man may do in conscience what another cannot do.
21. What is a sin for me to do may not be sin for you to do. The place you occupy upon the way of life determines what is sin.
22. There is no changeless law of good; for good and evil both are judged by other things.
23. One man may fast and in his deep sincerity of heart is blest.
24. Another man may fast and in the faithlessness of such a task imposed is cursed.
25. You cannot make a bed to fit the form of every man. If you can make a bed to fit yourself you have done well.
26. Why should these men who follow me resort to fasting, or to anything that would impair their strength? They need it all to serve the race.
27. The time will come when God will let you have your way, and you will do to me what Herod did to John;
28. And in the awfulness of that sad hour these men will fast.
29. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who have hearts to feel may understand.

Stories like this have been preached on out of the canonical gospels for centuries. They are used to show how the most heavenly minded can be of no earthly good as the cliché goes. Yet the point of the cliché itself is missed. Or, as I have found easy to do in my teaching, show how religion can be the opiate of the people by those in power creating oppressive rules that literally convince groups of people unless there is radical change, or purchase they will never be in paradise.

Yet there is more depth to this, as you take in the idea of literature and begin to unpack the characters. A few spiritual practice challenges for you:

  • Re-write the story from the perspective of the Pharisee. What have you learned of them? More personally what of them exists within you?
  • Re-write the story from who the religious then and today would save is the “sick/sinner”. What have you learned of them? More personally what of them exists within you?
  • If you are creative minded, take time to mindfully contemplate the story, then create a dream mandala using images from newspapers and magazines to illustrate the feast with today’s labels. What have you learned of this dichotomy within you?

Within each community, we have crisis. We have those who want to create false dichotomies based around being saintlier than others. I am sure in each of your neighbourhoods you can think of an issue where labels are reigning over the greatest commandment:

37Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment.39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’…

-Matthew 22:37-39

For that is the essence of the passage above with the feast. It is Brother Jesus listening to the Pharisee postulating all these rules and divisions of life, while sitting there eating with those who are spat upon and living love.

Quite a political statement on who gets life? Who is connected to the source. Who lives into and out of the Holy Mystery’s love incarnate in the Cosmic Christ. Brother Jesus who was so heavenly minded he actively worked to destroy the hierarchal system and oppressive structures of his day. He lived a life so scandalous because of the all-embracing love. A simple labourer who lived into and out of the love of the Holy Mystery that he could see each and every person as those crafted at the beginning and called blessed and very good.

So, with your spiritual interior soul work. Coupled with reflection on your own community. Where are you needed to tear down some walls, build some bridges, and simply do as Brother Jesus and feast?

Who is at your table today?


Sin and forgiveness. Brutal sacrifice of animal, self-flagellation, a brutal murder of a son by his loving father for redemption…all ancient stories interpreted into the modern age through a very new reading of texts as literal. What is forgotten is allegory, the art of legend for truth, and the context the story was written in. What was forgotten with Levitical laws is a people once enslaved, debased and abused returning to their homeland and needing to discover themselves, heal from trauma, and re-learn how to connect with their inner core, their Golden Cord, one that Brother Jesus illuminated with his greatest commandments in Matthew 22:34-40 (New Living Translation):

34But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’e 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’f 40The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

What is missed in this core of the ancient law, is what was missed in the recited Shema, and in the Levitical Law and cultic practices of the day—that it comes to the core of the being, the love of self, for in discovering love of yourself that is authentic you have awakened. One who is awakened is resonating at a vibrational level of truly living in awareness of unity within the Holy Mystery and the Holy Mystery within.

John The Baptist, Jesus’ elder cousing by 6 months, he of the hair loin cloth, wild honey and locust eating, an Essenes living in the wilderness, neither shaving (and probably not bathing), calling out the so called religious who are using God’s name in vain, who have placed power and control as the God above Love.  The nest of vipers, revealed by this Harbinger—the one that will lead the way (for those of DC Comic persuasion in the `80’s will remember the Millenium crossover and the Forever People who were leading the call for the evolution of the Meta-Gene…anyway I digress).

For not was much written of this chap outside of his conception, and then the time of Baptizing Jesus, to then his beheading for a child who a Herod lusted after…but what was his back story. The Aquarian Gospel shares some thoughts that may resonate with you on this account, but in the idea of sin and forgiveness, using the language of the early 20th century it rolls out a teaching around Sin/Forgiveness and a challenge to the idea of Murder on the Cross for our Sins (13:11-22):

  1. John was delighted with his visit to Jerusalem. Matheno told him all about the service of the Jews; the meaning of their rites.
    12.John could not understand how sin could be forgiven by killing animals and birds and burning them before the Lord.
    13. Matheno said, The God of heaven and earth does not require sacrifice. This custom with its cruel rites was borrowed from the idol worshippers of other lands.
    14. No sin was ever blotted out by sacrifice of animal, of bird, or man.
    15. Sin is the rushing forth of man into fens of wickedness. If one would get away from sin he must retrace his steps, and find his way out of the fens of wickedness.
    16. Return and purify your hearts by love and righteousness and you shall be forgiven.
    17. This is the burden of the message that the harbinger shall bring to men.
    18. What is forgiveness? John inquired.
    19. Matheno said, It is the paying up of debts. A man who wrongs another man can never be forgiven until he rights the wrong.
    20. The Vedas says that none can right the wrong but him who does the wrong.
    21. John said, If this be true where is the power to forgive except the power that rests in man himself? Can man forgive himself?
    22. Matheno said, The door is wide ajar; you see the way of man’s return to right, and the forgiveness of his sins.

Matheno a wisened elder in Egypt takes the young John under his wing and into the temple for a celebration, where the blood—I mean just imagine the aromas, the death, the burning, the blood, the cries of animals as they know what is to come, the chanting, children and women cast outside not able to bear witness to the horror, but this child does, and asks a deeply profound question: why does God want blood?

Think of that, for it is a question I have always had throughout my journey when I am told that it is death on the cross, shed blood that gave me access to God….

            Why does God want blood?

Or if we take the source of all—

Why does Love demand Death?

Why does Love demand Violence?

Why does Love demand BLOOD?

And John takes the journey, for without blood, and force sacrifice then a group cannot control and exert authority, for if love is all, and it resides in all, through all and with all…then…if love is all there is…

Sin, forgiveness, cannot stand…love wins…

And the blood, death, violence…is not of Love…it is false…it is designed to break the Golden Cord…

So step out, tune in, awaken…and Love will lead. Love will heal.

So are you willing to let Love reign in you, through you and with you?

 

 

 

 


Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

To Live a life of simplicity, prayer, and compassion centered on learning what this Gospel teaching of the Cosmic Christ lived out means:

36 “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ 40 The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.”


Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

It is unique, as I have written before we Franciscans get a short shift as not being academic enough…why? Francis was more concerned with ensuring those that lived out his rule to live the Gospel Life of Jesus Christ were more pragmatic.   But it wasn’t an anti-intellect drive, rather it is an internalization of the gospel teaching and shaping one’s life and learnings around a deeper understanding of this teaching.

This has been my life, attempting to fully internalize one Gospel Teaching of Jesus:

Matthew 22:36-40

New King James Version (NKJV)

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

This is the passage that brought me back into the institutional church, and it is the passage that has me continually wrestling with the institutional church.  How is it that we are to love like this in community, as community, yet we do such harm to one another.
This is the lesson that my life has centered on.
So how far have I come? That is always a good question, but I think I am closer the further I move from the institutional church setting, as Francis did.