Rocking the Boat Too Much?

April 9, 2022

So from that day on they planned to put him to death… Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him.
—John 11:52, 57
Do you ever wonder what might be different if Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. toned down his criticisms of the government and structures that supported racism? Might he have lived longer to see justice rendered more swiftly? What if Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was less strident in his calls for justice by the military leaders killing Salvadoran peasants? Maybe they wouldn’t have felt the need to kill him, and he could have brokered peace between the military and the guerrilla fighters. What if Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t so extreme in his hunger strikes and demonstrations of non-violence? Might he have escaped the attention of his assassin and lived longer to work for greater peace and justice in India?
Do you ever wonder the same about Jesus? Did he really need to rock the boat as much as he did? Couldn’t he have backed off some of his more radical critiques of the Roman ruling government, the culture of militarism and oppression, and the hypocrisy of the religious leaders so that he could have lived longer and done more good in the world? Like the prophets before him and the modern-day prophets mentioned above, Jesus knew that speaking out as forcefully as he did put his life in danger. Like all those prophets, he also refused to quit speaking the truth to power. Jesus was killed because he allowed himself to become human, and he put himself at the mercy of humans who didn’t want to hear the truth. In his faithfulness to speaking the truth, he refused to save himself from the consequences, just as King, Romero, and Gandhi chose.
FOR REFLECTION: Who are the prophets in 2022 who rock the boat in their calls for justice? How do the people in power react to them?
TO PRAY: Oh, God, let your justice roll down like the waters. May I stand with courage, supporting those who speak the truth to those in power.