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Showing posts with label Marginalized. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marginalized. Show all posts

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Transform VI - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

Transform   VI

Change the names.

Take down the monuments and memorials.

Do it now.

There is plenty to be proud of in the American tradition, and much to be ashamed of. If we want to transform our culture into one of enduring justice then it is time for us to stop elevating what is reprehensible in our collective story and time for us to promote what is truly good and beautiful, the things that unite all of us and speak to our common humanity.

We must stop fetishizing the flag, the national anthem, the military, war.

Bravery is good. It is good that men and women are willing to put their lives on the line and even die for their brothers and sisters in arms, but war itself is reprehensible and always marks a failure of human beings to navigate the maze of their self-interest.

Slave holders, including men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson presented in history as the men that they were: brave, brilliant, despotic.

There was much to be admired in them, but also much to be abhorred and we should not shirk from our responsibility to tell their story in full.

What I was taught to admire in human beings was the quality of perseverance we see in human beings who have to struggle to overcome adversity, what we find in and women who rise to the challenge of their circumstances, when the world is set against them and they triumph as the underdog, while demonstrating grace in victory, humility and love for their fellow human beings.

Our memorials and monuments should be dedicated to men and women who display those characteristics, and it is the poor, the marginalized, the disenfranchised who possess those qualities in seemingly infinite capacities.

Just look at our “essential workers” our minimum wage-earning heroes and heroines who are keeping the economy running, the hospital cleaning staff, just as much as the doctors and nurses, all risking their lives to fight the pandemic.

We do no need monuments dedicated to men who broke treaties, enslaved their fellow human beings, justified that slavery with ridiculous arguments that were only intended to cover up their otherwise naked greed.

We do not need memorials dedicated to traitors the traitors that took our country to civil war, in order to defend their “right” to buy and sell human beings as property.

We do not need men and women holding office who cannot understand this, they should step down, and not run again.

Let’s begin the transformation of America now.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 4:21-30 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.01.31 (Sunday)

The Prophet at Home

Jesus began to speak in the synagogue: ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips They said, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’

  But he replied, ‘No doubt you will quote me the saying, “Physician, heal yourself” and tell me, “We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own countryside.”’ And he went on, ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.

  ‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’

  When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away. (NJB)

Calling, Gifts, and Responsibility

There is a pattern in the Gospel narrative that plays itself out through all of the books. The pattern is this; the people who purportedly know Jesus best, understand his mission least. He is best understood by the marginalized, the stranger, the outcast, and the voiceless.

Those who are best acquainted with Jesus, the people of his home town, the disciples, Saint Peter--chief among them; they are quick and eager to accept him, but are often confounded, and left bewildered when Jesus does or says something unexpected.

The reading comes to us near the beginning of Luke’s narrative and it highlights this dilemma. In the first paragraph the are delighted by Jesus and love the things he says, but Jesus discerns something in them that causes him change his tone, he cautions them; give them a warning. He reminds them of how quick people are to turn against the ones they love and revere, to turn against their leaders and prophets as they did in the past with Elijah, and Elisha.

The warning is stern, the blessings of God will not flow if you are only looking after your own interests, and if you are uncaring about the interests of your neighbor, of the alien, and of the stranger.

Justice and mercy, love and hope, these things flow from God only insofar as they flow from the human heart. This is not quid pro quo. God is not in the business of matching our contribution, our gifts of compassion are God’s gifts of compassion, human agency is the only path by which God enters the lives of human beings.

If we are not doing the good work of God, the good work will not get done.

The people of Jesus’ village mistook the power that Jesus had; to heal and restore, and the fame that was gathering around him, as something belonging to them, something they had a right to, something to use for themselves, and because of this self-interest they were not able to receive it at that time.

In the same way the disciples continuously misunderstood Jesus’ ministry. They chastised him for talking to women, for eating with outsiders, and they abandoned him on the night he was arrested. Saint Peter, the rock of the Church, denied him publicly. Only a handful of women, remained by his side until the very end.

Most Christians today are in the position that the townsfolk of Nazareth were in, at the time Jesus delivered this teaching. They believe that being a Christian gives them some special status in the world, as if God loved them more than God loves any of God’s children. The believe that God will reach down and save them, while letting so many billions of others go to burn.

People who believe this could not be more wrong.

The only thing you receive from being a follower of Christ is the burden of responsibility to love your neighbor as God loves them, to love them as you love God.

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time