|Is that Jesus?|
The "who am I to judge?" pope isn't judging us. He's simply telling us how God will judge us.
In an Angelus homily this morning, Pope Francis referenced the parable of the Good Samaritan:
“(I)t depends on me to be or not be a neighbour to the person I meet who has need of my help, even if he is a stranger, or even hostile...”
...We should ask ourselves, the Pope said, if our faith is fruitful, if it produces good works, or if, on the other hand, it is sterile, “and so more dead than alive.”
We should ask ourselves this question often, Pope Francis continued, because it is precisely on this question that we will be judged at the end of our lives. The Lord, he said, will ask us, “Do you remember that time on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho? That man, who was half-dead, was me. Do you remember? That hungry child was me. Do you remember? That migrant who so many people wanted to chase away was me. Those grandparents, abandoned in rest homes, were me. Those sick people in the hospital, who no one went to find, were me.”Of course, taken on its own, some of this is completely unobjectionable and even correct. I assume God will take note of whether we visited our elderly relatives or acquaintances in hospitals and rest homes. What grates is the conflation of supporting political causes - or in this case the Pope's own pet political cause - with Christian charity.
Put aside for the moment the fact that supporting the recent Muslim "migrant" invasion is a pernicious political cause that has already led to great harm and suffering. Presumably victims of migrants - the young woman raped in the park, the young man decapitated in his local IKEA - are part of the Good Samaritan equation too. Will God ask us about them or are they just unavoidable civilian casualties?
More to the point, the actual parable of the Good Samaritan isn't about political equations. It's about a human being a few feet away in need of help. The "neighbor" may be a stranger, but he is also notably someone right there whom I "meet."
One of the notable things about the Gospel stories is that Jesus often seems indifferent to or even contemptuous of abstract altruism. Or more accurately, the value of, say, "giving to the poor" in a general way is often framed more in terms of its value to the donor - freeing him of material impediments to his relationship with God - rather than how it might benefit those who will receive it.
And while Jesus went so far as to perform a miracle to feed the hungry*, he didn't go around lecturing his flock about, say, starving children in Africa.
In fairness to Francis, there's a longstanding tradition of using the parable of the Good Samaritan to pitch liberal political causes. But that doesn't make this instance any less annoying or destructive.
*Though the Pope doesn't seem to believe He did.