And behold, a church came up to Jesus, saying, teacher, what good deed must we do to have eternal life? And he said to the church, why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.
The church responded, which ones?
And Jesus said, you shall not murder.
We’ve kept this command, the church said, for we prevent the deaths of unborn children!
But Jesus said, if you would be perfect, go, and prevent the deaths of refugee children, immigrant children, homeless children, and Muslim children.
Jesus went on, and you shall not commit adultery.
We’ve remained faithful to our spouses, responded the church.
But Jesus said, if you would be perfect, go, and stop defending sexual predators, stop being complicit to sexual abuse, harassment, and assault, and stop being misogynistic.
Jesus went on, and you shall not steal.
We’ve never stolen anything, said the church.
But Jesus said, if you would be perfect, go, and stop withholding from the poor, stop taking economic advantage of the vulnerable, and stop using the government to fuel your greed.
Jesus continued, and you shall not bear false witness.
We’ve never lied, said the church.
But Jesus said, if you would be perfect, go, and stop pretending racism doesn’t exist, stop supporting political leaders who lie and manipulate, stop being co-opted by political agendas, and stop slandering people who are different from you.
Jesus continued, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
We love our neighbors, responded the church.
But Jesus said, if you would be perfect, go, and love your Muslim neighbor, your immigrant neighbor, your refugee neighbor, your atheist neighbor, your LGBTQ neighbor, your homeless neighbor, your poor neighbor … stop building walls, and stop banning and deporting people with the intent of preventing them from becoming your neighbor in the first place.
After a brief reflection, the church said to Jesus, we’ve done a small portion of all of these things, what do we still lack?
Jesus pleadingly looked at the church and said, if you would be perfect, go, sell all you possess and give to the poor, sacrifice all of your power and give to the weak, exchange all of your control and give to the helpless, forfeit all of your privilege and give it to the downtrodden, abandon all of your popularity and bestow it upon the helpless, and when you do all of this then you will have treasure in heaven, so now come, and follow me!
When the rich, powerful, and politically connected church heard this, it went away sorrowful, for it was unwilling to give up its possessions.