By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN
You have probably seen the bumper sticker that reads “WWJD” – short for “What Would Jesus Do.” Well, how about WWYD — What Would You Do — if you meet Jesus? Or, to make it more interesting, what would you do if you meet Jesus and He gives you a task to perform in today’s America to secure a place in Heaven, as happened in the movie “How Sarah Got Her Wings?” What would you do if that task is to perform some act that helps to heal our nation at this time of great divisiveness, racial and religious intolerance and hatred for others? It is reasonable to assume that most of us 324 million Americans are good people. But how many of us are true to the tenets of our religions? How many of the 247 million Christians, for example, actively practice the teachings of Jesus, the Christ, whose name their religion bears.
The Bible Guide Online lists the Top 10 teachings of Jesus, including: * Matthew 25:35-40, on caring for the needy: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
* Mark 10:42-45, on humility: “… whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be slave to all.”
* Matthew 5:3-12, their Beatitudes:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
* Mark 8:34-36, on self-denial: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” * Matthew 7:1-5, on a rush to judgment: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
* Matthew 5:43-45, on love for others:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
* Matthew 7:12, the Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
* Matthew 22:37-40, summing it all up: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
New Year’s Eve is usually the occasion for resolutions but we live in a time when the Christmas season, which celebrates the birth of Jesus, is even more appropriate. All of us need to ponder on why our nation is so fractured, why there is so much animus towards others and what each of us can do to start the healing process. It is a duty to which Jews, Muslims and all others are called.
All great religions offer basically similar paths to a life of faith, not just Christianity, but because Christians comprise70 percent of the nation, they are well poised to pave the way to a kinder, gentler America.