Was Jesus Nice?

by Steve Ray on February 20, 2017

I’m OK, you’re OK. Be yourself! Gotcha covered buddy!

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me. “That was not very Christ-like.” This response usually comes after being honest to the point of making someone upset.  The implication is that Jesus was a cuddly little nice guy who was always smiling, always accepting with kind words – in short NICE.

In America we tend to be pretty nice, except maybe if you live in New York City. But in contrast to the rest of the world we tend to be very polite, genteel, gracious and nice. Tour guides in other countries say that Americans are the nicest people. We transpose our niceness onto Jesus and think he was a lot like us.

But does LOVE = NICE?

Of course Jesus was loving. He is God after all and God is love (1 John 4:8). We also know that love does not always equate to NICE. God allowed Paul to have a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble (2 Cor 12:7). Three times Paul prayed for it to be removed. God said NO.  God was not acting very American. He certainly wasn’t very nice about it.

Nice is defined primarily as “pleasant or commendable, kind or friendly” (Collins English Dictionary). It originally comes from the Latin meaning “simple, silly or ignorant.”

“He’s not a tame lion, afterall” Quote from Narnia series

There is such a thing as “tough love.” It is the kind of love that cares enough to be honest, to confront, to discipline, to cause temporary pain to bring about eternal glory.  On the surface “tough love” does not always appear to be nice. How often has a child, sent to the corner blurt out “You are not very nice!”

Was Jesus nice?

Like Aslan the Lion in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series, Jesus is approachable and loving, but don’t ever consider him “tame” or too cuddly. Jesus is God as well as man. He expressed the wrath and anger of God as well as the mercy and love of God.

Imagine coming to the Temple in Jerusalem one day to pray. You hear a great commotion and run over to see an angry man throwing over tables, grabbing the money from the merchants and throwing the money on the ground.

Whipping the money changers and dumping over their tables

But worse, you see him make a scourge of cords – a whip – and striking people with it. You are shocked that anyone would be so rude and destructive, so inconsiderate and mean to lash people with a whip. People ran in fear! Everyone was upset. Jesus was red in the face and scowling.  It certainly wasn’t very “Christ-like.” How nice was that?

Jesus was always loving, but he was not always nice, as we Americans count niceness. Here is just one example. Jesus spoke very harshly to his fellow Jews.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. . . .  You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Matthew 23:27,  28, 33).

Ouch! Doesn’t sound very kind and courteous: not very thoughtful or nice!

So, maybe there is more to WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) than we’ve been led to believe. Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much about being nice, being liked, acting like  genteel Americans. Maybe we ought to be more honest and forthright about the things that really matter.  Maybe we should be more willing to hurt some feelings, step on some toes, show tough love to those in sin.

Maybe we should be more Christ-like.

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IMG_7755We started the day with Peter, James, Andrew and John on a boat going across the sea of Galilee he. It was a little windy and choppy but a genuine experience.

The Mass at Capernaum was especially meaningful today. Knowing that Jesus had healed thousands of people there we had a special healing Mass with the Anointing of the Sick. Very touching.  You can see the Homily and Anointing of the Sick here.  I gave a talk to explain the site and then we went to eat St. Peter’s fish.

Then we embarked on the ride south, but UP to Jerusalem. We stopped along the way at the place of the Visitation where we prayed another Mystery of the Rosary and I gave my talk about Mary the Ark of the New Covenant.

Then we arrived at our beautiful Catholic Notre Dame  Hotel where we settled in and had some free time and dinner. Tomorrow it’s all day Bethlehem!

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Incredible New Video “From Conception to Birth”

by Steve Ray on February 19, 2017

Make sure everyone sees this because it is a marvelous argument against abortion. This is new technology that won its inventors the Nobel Prize. It pulls back the curtain on the developing baby and the mystery inside the womb. Hang in there for the first three minutes while he is explaining the technology — the remainder of the video is incredible.

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Mass at Beatitudes, Steve’s Talk on Peter, Druze Lunch, Fr. Jame’s Story and more

February 18, 2017

We started with Mass at Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The excellent homily is <a href=”http://www.yorutube.com/watch?v=mO1MQJJHw4A” target=”_blank”>here</a>. A nice hour drive north to the Lebonese border with Fr. James Conlon telling his vocation story. <img src=”http://www.footprintsofgodpilgrimages.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_7648-169×300.png” alt=”” width=”169″ height=”300″ class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-1591484″ /> We arrived at Caesarea Philippi where Steve gave his talk and […]

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A Talk with 2 Purposes: Teach Foundations of our Faith & Demonstrate Verbum Catholic Software

February 18, 2017

A while ago I gave a talk in Ann Arbor entitled “The Foundations of our Faith: Scripture, Tradition & Magisterium.” (Watch the video below.) As I love to do, I tied the Old and New Testaments together and showed the continuity that lays the foundation for who and what we are as Catholics today. But my […]

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Met Governor Huckabee in Israel

February 18, 2017

We met this good man in Israel today and he took some with us. Gov. Mike Huckabee does much to help steer our country in ways of morality and conservatism. We thanked him for all the good work that he does for our country – and to keep up the good work. We all applauded […]

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Transfigured, Renewed Marital Vows and Met the Holy Family in Nazareth

February 17, 2017

Great day in Galilee. Started with wild taxi ride up Mount Tabor for Mass and for teaching on the Transfiguration. Another great homily here. Many people very moved. Then to Cana for Renewal of Wedding Vows and Steve’s teaching on John 2. Lunch in Nazareth before arriving at the Church of Annunciation at the cave […]

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Bet You’ve Never Heard of this Heroic, Selfless Woman

February 17, 2017

Remember this lady?Irena Sendler Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98) in Warsaw, Poland During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her […]

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Difference between “Sexual Relations” and “Conjugal Relations” in Relation to Amoris Laetitia

February 16, 2017

Canon Lawyer Ed Peters writes, “Among the fault lines revealed by the ecclesiastical earthquakes erupting after Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia, we can see, I suggest, how some high-ranking ecclesiastics seem inadequately to understand the differences between “sexual relations” and “conjugal relations”. Most any man and any woman can have sexual relations, of course, but only […]

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Jordan Group at Jesus’ Baptismal Site and Crossing into Israel; Group 2’s Arrival in Israel

February 16, 2017

Today the Jordan group left them on and we drove down to the Jordan River and had Mass on the shores of the river where Jesus was baptized. You can watch/listen to the homily and watch the renewal of baptisms here. Today the Jordan group left them on and we drove down to the Jordan River […]

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Bible Riddle: What Am I?

February 16, 2017

Since we will be here today, I thought this riddle appropriate! But, before you click the link, see if you can figure out this riddle :-) Write to me if you need help; click here to see the answer. Three times I have been divided doing what God had decided. Twice a garment was the […]

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Amazing Petra: World Heritage Site of Stunning Beauty – Full Tour!

February 15, 2017

Colorful gorges, galloping horses, Bedouins and Camel drivers, the Treasury of Indiana Jones’ fame, rock caves and tombs, hot mint tea, multi-colored sandstone corridors 300 feet high – great experience. Many people said they were happy to scratch this one off their “Bucket List.” We also had Mass in one in one of my favorite […]

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Salvation by Faith Alone?

February 15, 2017

Since the days of Martin Luther it has been popular to reduce salvation to a sound bite. Salvation is not by works but by “faith alone.” However, the Bible seems to have another idea. In my book CROSSING THE TIBER I mention a few passages from Scripture to give a more biblical perspective. Here is […]

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Amman to Mt. Nebo to Madaba to Petra Jordan

February 14, 2017

Third day in Jordan seeing so much! Mass at Mount Nebo where Moses looked across the Jordan Valley into the Promised Land (excellent homily here).

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Amoris Laetitia and Divorced-Remarried: the Wounds Get Deeper

February 14, 2017

Canon Lawyer Ed Peters writes (excerpts), “[Regarding] some excerpts translated from Francesco Cdl. Coccopalmerio’s new, short book on Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia. If the excerpts I read are accurate, the President of the Pontifical Council of Legislative Texts (the body charged with issuing binding interpretations of ecclesiastical legal texts, notably the Code of Canon Law), comes […]

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Marriage in Heaven? Will We Know and Love Our Spouses in Heaven?

February 14, 2017

Happy St. Valentine’s Day. This is for my mom. My dad died almost six years ago. Mom misses Dad and was discouraged about Mark 12:25 which her paraphrased Living Bible improperly rendered “will not be married” in heaven. I wrote the following to comfort my Mom… Mom, I know it is important to you since […]

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