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Showing posts with label Prophecy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prophecy. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Mist


Groping in the mist, my mind is clouded, wisdom
I cannot see you

Silent Sophia
Invisible and blind, cacophony rising

Fortuna and Justice, sisters to the Fates, drowned in
Fountains of ego

Lost in a haze, tired
Swimming against the tide, searching for refuge, rest

Crashing on sharp stones, hot rocks, baked beneath the sun
Apollo takes me

God of prophecy
God of music and the lyre, God of poetry

Tell me your secrets, burn me with knowledge, branded
Send me to the void

Tell me everything
I need to know, the eternal peace I pray for

Why look for the truth in the world, tossed by wind and wave
The heartless powers

Neither rejoicing
Nor mourning for the things they touch, lift or destroy

Impersonal force
Harsh powers robs me of any sense of meaning

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Homily – The Gospel of Matthew 4:12 - 17 ©



The Gospel of the Day – 2017.01.22


After John’s Arrest

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’


The Beginning of Christian Ministry

Be wary of the Scriptures, when the authors try attempt to fit their narrative of the life of Jesus into a picture that makes it look as if he is fulfilling a prediction made by a prophet from the past.

This is always a falsehood.

Even if a prediction was made, and even if Jesus did the thing that was predicted, it is a false narrative to suggest that Jesus’ actions were in fulfillment of prophecy.

Prophets only speak of the future for two reasons; to engender hope, and to warn of danger.

The words of a prophet are always addressed to the people in their own time, in their own place. Prophecy is never meant to guide the lives of future generations, except in the cases when the prophet is addressing an issue of universal truth, such as the nature of justice, which is itself unchanging.

The Gospel writers were propagandists. They fabricated many of the details of Jesus’ life. They fabricated those details to suit their narrative about who Jesus was, why he was necessary, and what his life and death meant for the early church.

In this narrative the Gospel writers place Jesus directly in the tradition of John the Baptist, with the words “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

This is a continuation of that narrative, meant to harness the energy of John’s movement, after his arrest and murder.


3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Juke 7:11-17 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.06.05

Miracles and Magic and Raising the Dead

Jesus went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people. When he was near the gate of the town it happened that a dead man was being carried out for burial, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople were with her. When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her. ‘Do not cry’ he said. Then he went up and put his hand on the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said, ‘Young man, I tell you to get up.’ And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Everyone was filled with awe and praised God saying, ‘A great prophet has appeared among us; God has visited his people.’ And this opinion of him spread throughout Judaea and all over the countryside.

(NJB)

What is Prophecy?

What is the message that the authors of Luke’s Gospel are giving us; that magic and miracle making, that wonder working and acts of power are equivalent, perhaps greater than works of the prophets of old.

None of the authors of Luke’s Gospel ever met Jesus. At least half a century had passed from the time of Jesus’ death, to the time that Luke’s Gospel was written. By the time this Gospel was written; Palestine (Judea and Samaria) were completely under Roman rule, Jerusalem had been ruined, the temple destroyed, and the population scattered across the Empire in the second great Diaspora.

There were no witnesses to the events Luke describes; the raising of the widow’s son. No one to give the story of the reaction of the crowd. The story itself is a fabrication, it is a myth, it never happened, but it became a part of the tradition and was handed down as evidence that Jesus had both great compassion and great power.

There is little insight to be gained from this reading regarding the teachings of Jesus. Let me suggest this, the raising of the dead man at Nain, was not a physical miracle, it was the assertion of the notion that widow should not be left alone, with no husband, and no son to protect her. The resurrection of the widow’s son is a metaphor not a miracle, it means that in place of the woman’s son, the Church will not step up. The church will pick up the familial obligations for the woman, to protect her and keep her in life.

This is the role of the church, as a guardian of the meek, as a caretaker. This is a miracle, because it is in contradistinction to the common way of life, which would have forced the widow out into the margins of society.

God does not violate the laws of nature; not once, not ever. If we are going to accept this story as a part of the Gospel we must find a way of reading it that rules out the supernatural. Because there is no such thing as magic.

Now listen, this reading does just that. It is not that the widow’s son died, and returned to life. It is that Jesus appointed the church to care for the widow, in place of her dead son; this keeps her in life, and this is what puts Jesus directly in the tradition of the prophets, not the miracle making, the wonder working, the acts of power, and the magic, because these are fantasies. It is his work as an advocate for Justice, for community, and compassion that make him into powerful prophet that he was.


9th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Homily - The Gospel of Luke 21: 25 - 28, 34 - 36

The Gospel of the Day – 2015.11.29 (Sunday)

The End of Days?

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

  ‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’ (NJB)


The Trouble with Prophecy

The authors of Luke report that these are the words of Jesus. In so doing they place lies in the mouth of their friend and their teacher.

Jesus never spoke about the end of the world, because Jesus spoke the truth, and he did not seek to motivate with fear, but with love.

When the sun spends the last of its nuclear fuel; that will be a sign of the end of the world (billions of years from now).

If the moon were to slip in its orbit, that would be a sign of the end of the end of the world (the world as we know it).

The stars are in fact so distant from us, that what happens with them can have little to do with what happens here, but before our sun burns itself out, our galaxy will collide with another, and that will radically change life on this planet (billions of years from now).

God, the creator of the universe, made us, our world, and our universe free. God does not interfere, or intervene in our lives and our choices. Because that is true, the only futures we can predict are those that flow naturally from their antecedents that are present in reality, right now.

We can predict global warming; because it is happening, and the antecedents for it were laid down decades ago.

Just as we can predict the continuation of wars, terrorism, and economic injustice, they are present realities, and matters of statistical certitude.

We can predict these things, not because God has decreed that these things will come to pass, but because we have.

The only liberation we will have from the vicissitudes of this life, will come at the end of. God will not stretch out God’s hand to save you from any danger.

Pay no attention to those who use fear to shape your faith.

They are liars.

God wills that you live a life without fear, and the things that flow from fear; hate, anger, greed, and violence.

To the extent that any of us are drunk, or debauched, it is certain that we will pay for it in your own ways; through the loss of monies, the loss of opportunities, the loss of friendship, the loss of dignity. 
These habits, (the nature of sin itself), is not that they are traps that will prevent you from reaching your ultimate destiny. They may frustrate you in this life (to one degree or another), but they will not separate you from God. Anyone who says differently is trying to sell you something.   


The first Sunday of Advent

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Homily - The Gospel of Mark 13:24-32

Mark 13:24-32 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2015.11.15 (Sunday)

Jesus said, ‘In those days, after the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven.

  ‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you when you see these things happening: know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

  ‘But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’ (NJB)

On the Limits of Human Understanding

Pay attention to the Gospel, and be mindful of the limits that human agency possesses.

It is instructive.

The authors of this Gospel came to the end of their ability to narrate the life and mission of Jesus.

They allowed their own imagination, their own fears, their misguided notions of what the mission of Jesus was, to come in and take the place of wisdom.

Jesus is transformed from the humble teacher and preacher that he was in life, into a figure descending from heaven in power and glory. Jesus would have been the first to tell them that power and glory are no substitute peace and love, for justice and mercy.

The same thing is true for individuals, for nations, and for societies, there are times of conflict and there are times of peace, there are times of despair and there are times of hope, there are times of confusion and there are times of understanding. When we are farthest away from the light, we are able to see it in greater focus as the point that draws us. Allow yourself to be drawn in by the light.

Jesus did not come back in the lifetime of the Gospel writers. It is unfortunate but they allowed the co-mingling of their fears and their hopes to write a series of lies into the narrative of Jesus’ life.

The church has been stuck trying to interpret these lies ever since.

Heaven and earth are here, they are going nowhere. There is no end time for God’s creation, but there is an end for us.

When our end comes, what will we say of our lives; that we lived in fear of the coming of the end, or that we lived them in hope, with trust, in the service of justice and love?

The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time