“How dare you question or try to redefine the Gospel?” Actually I am not. Plus, this is the same accusation that was given to Jesus, to which he responded by saying that he was not teaching anything againts the Law, but confirmation of it. My response to this question would be, “And how dare you live your life without loving your neighbor as you love yourself?” In other words, “How can you continue to live your life claiming that you are a Christian or simply a good person when other people around you are suffering because of hunger, sickness, abuse, and other evils and you ignore it because you believe it is someone else’s responsibility?” This is what Jesus taught when he said “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “When you feed the hunger, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned and the sick, then you have done it to me”. The main message of the Gospel is not our salvation, although this is a means to an end. The “end” or the main reason underlining the revolution that Jesus started was to depend on God and then bring justice, redeem those in need, and serve others, unconditionally. This is introduced when Jesus read the scriptures from the book of Isaiah describing himself by saying ” The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”. You might ask “Why are you saying that the salvation of souls is not the main message?” Because Jesus said “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!‘ “(Mt. 7:21). So if we don’t do the will of the Father, our salvation is lost. We are saved to do His will, not just to be saved and continue to live selfish lives. I am not implying that we must work to be saved, because our salvation is truly from faith, but like James said in chapter 2:14-17, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”. Need more evidence? Jesus taught in Mathews 24 that on the last day the unsaved “will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’ ‘Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” And “if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness” (Isaiah 58:10). Simply put, the Gospel is not about us; it is really about God, Who is glorified when the Church does His will: serve the “least of these” (The Kingdom of Heaven). Let us stop being self-righteous, and start being the body of Jesus and follow His true example.
Please take no offense, but think about the real message that Jesus taught us: not simply to be saved and bring others to salvation, but once saved, work on bringing justice and redemption to those in need. Start by practicing what Jesus taught in the Beatitudes (be poor in spirit, meek, accepting of suffering, just, peacemaker, merciful, and persecuted because of this Kingdom of Heaven). This is also summarized when Jesus told the Pharisee that the most important Commandment “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” This is truly a social revolution, with the help of God, to help those who are the least, be the greatest. Do we dare do this?