Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.
There are all sorts of poverty and all sorts of anger. And these days I have been mulling over the Sermon on the Plains that took place after this conversation with the Pharisees, as Jesus explained what it meant to really follow Him. And somehow those who are poor and hungry and weeping are blessed, while those who ask, “When did we ever see you?” are cursed.
And I have seen some of the blessed ones. And poor means the rehydration room with my baby strapped down onto a piece of plywood with eleven other babies and the IV bottles that only drip irregularly and no one has any diapers and the only place to sit is leaning up against a 2 x 4 nailed into the bug-specked wall and it is okay that we have no food and drink because the water isn’t running in the hospital that day so there is a big mound of multi-shaded poop in the toilet and it is hot and humid and the bathroom door won’t shut all the way and one of the little boys dies during the night and even though his momma crawls up onto the board and weeps there is nothing we can do but sit there helplessly and stare with big round tired eyes. And hungry means that we wake up in the morning and really every single thought for the whole long day is how to get one cup of white rice for each member of your family that day. And the lady from the government says that it would be good to have a matchbox-sized piece of meat once a week but that is only for rich people who live in the town up the hill. And sometimes my best friend Ramoncita said she wasn’t hungry but I knew that really it was because there wasn’t quite enough food to go around and three of her children died from vomiting and diarrhea, which really means they starved to death. And weeping is when our border collie Daisy ran out into Country Club Road and got hit by a car and the neighbor lady came out and covered the body and when Ali saw the sheet-covered body he wept and wept because when he lived in Iraq a sharpshooter killed his favorite uncle and his dead body lay in the street outside his front door for a week but Ali had to walk past the dead body every single day without looking and without crying because maybe if he showed that he knew him or cared the sharpshooter would shoot him too. So now a year later he wept for his uncle and his friend and his taxi cab driver whose arm was blown off and the principal of his school who wouldn’t give his address to the guys with the machine guns. And for his country, he wept.
And right now there are people marching around with signs with red, white and blue paint on them. Angry people shaking their fists at tired and poor and huddled children, the homeless and tempest-tossed yearning to breathe free. And I could get really angry too but that sure wouldn’t help anything, and anyways even when people were spitting on Jesus and calling him names He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” and what I do know is what I can do and do it, and that is enough.