We hear today at Palm Sunday Mass from a scriptural passage that is used to properly attack secular socialist ideals while defending the ideals of historical Christianity. The passage comes from the Gospel of Mark.
When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. "Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days' wages and the money given to the poor." They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me…” Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them. (Mark 14:3-7, 10)
I think many of us overlook the fact that Judas’ indignation towards Christ and his tragic decision to hand Jesus over to his death came to fruition over how best to serve the poor. Today, the secular socialist ideology of robbing the rich to “serve” the poor is sadly seen as the ideal by which Christians vote. Judas, like the secular “progressives” of our day, was also a revolutionary who sought to overthrow those in power on behalf of the poor and the oppressed. However, both Judas and his contemporaries in the modern-day Far Left thought the best way to happiness was in power and control, and not self-sacrificial love and self-control.
Using Judas’ “power and control” method in today’s society, the secular socialist ideals only use the “power of the people” to take away any real control they have to love freely. What’s worse, they have no qualms about throwing out both self-control and self-sacrificial love. These things are too hard, after all. “How can we expect humans to act humanly?” they ask. “What we need to do is setup a God-like government and then defame and lie about anyone who disagrees with us.”
Indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love. A son who is passionately angry with his father has more of a relationship with his father than a son who is completely indifferent towards his father. Anger itself can be a first step towards reconciliation. Again, the problem with the secular socialist ideal is that it will make us completely indifferent towards our neighbors. According to this ideal, the next time we see a poor man we won’t say: “Hey, how can I help?” but rather say: “Why are you asking me for help? What you need is an Obama-bailout that will help you for a day or two.”
What we really need, however, is an aggressive expansion of faith-based efforts with real accountability on the local level. Aristotle, like Christ, advocated for a love/friend-based political system. The secular socialist ideal is always calling for social justice. Aristotle and Christ teach us that in a community of friendship, no justice and laws are necessary. When I’m with my friends (even friends who disagree with me on politics) we do not need laws to govern our behavior, nor do we need the government to tax us to death in order to support one another. We simply treat each other as friends.
Someone really important once said: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Not only does this mean giving of ourselves freely, it means reaching out, getting to know, and truly loving our neighbors who thus become our friends. The secular socialist ideal, however, seeks to make strangers out of our neighbors and “friends” out of those who will go on to kill our neighbors.
But maybe they think that our eventual deaths will come easier when those who should be our real friends are only strangers.