56 years ago, Thomas Merton warned that the failure to enact the Gospel’s social implications would result in an “Earthly Hell.” “Social Implications” is about the Great Good. Merton’s role as a mystic voice of awareness, soul searching, compassion, and peace is even more remarkable considering the ways conflict, confusion, doubt touched his personal life. Lessons learned for all of us, the early followers of Jesus understood the conflicts of living in the empire. The lives of the early followers were focused on social implications. They lived in a world dominated by an empire that sentenced to death one of their own. We all understand the story of the Sermon on the Mount.
Now close your eyes and for a moment, picture in your mind’s eye, Jesus standing before a joint session of congress, delivering the Sermon on the Mount. Imagine the follow-up news commentaries that would follow, the interviews with members of congress on cable networks, what would the leaders of our religious denominations be saying and responding?
The question to ask yourself after you reflect on this, What is the difference between then and now?