Friday, March 28, 2014

Homily for March 30, 2014/Fourth Sunday of Lent by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP


Wednesday I was over at Claver House having coffee with the other
guests, and we got to talking about what we would do if we won the
Ohio lottery jackpot. Pay the bills, help the kids, give to the
church. Then George, the octogenarian, the Korean Navy Veteran, said
he'd first of all give to the people we were eating with--the street
people, the people living on the margins--and I saw the truth of Dr.
Ruby Payne's observation that the poor have different values from the
middle class and the rich.

For the poor, it's all about the people in their lives. They don't
have things, but they have people. The poor live day-to-day in a
hand-to-mouth world that requires them to maintain relationships, even
relationships that do them harm, in order to survive.

When the lottery question comes up among middle class folks, the
answers are different: pay off the mortgage, quit the job, send the
kids to college, travel. It's about jobs and education as the way to
achieve, to get "stuff"--and more money puts more "stuff" within their
reach.

When the lottery question comes up among the wealthy, their answers
point to doing more so as to be seen as people with status and
connections--dining in the right restaurants, living in the right
neighborhood, having the right people at parties, serving on the right
boards, marrying the kids into the right families. All three--the poor
and the wealthy and those in between--can be blind to the fact that
right relationship is what really matters.

Our first reading shows us that the appearance--what we can see
physically--may or may not be a true reflection of a person. Where we
see the appearance, God sees the heart. It's obvious from many of the
Hebrew Scriptures that anointing does not guarantee worthy leadership.
The anointed can fail to grasp the grace of the anointing. We can be
blind to unjust social structures, as Samuel was when he saw Jesse's
oldest son, Eliab, and the six other older brothers; contrary to
tradition, the youngest of the eight is chosen. Saul does not live up
to his promise. David compromises Bathsheba and has her husband Uriah
murdered.

And there are contemporary examples as well. Ordination to the
priesthood has not prevented sex abuse, and consecration as a bishop
has not brought transparency and an end to cover-ups.
A new Pontifical commission appointed by Pope Francis this week will
"look into church law to see what has worked, then make
recommendations;" it will "advise the church on the best policies."
Fr. Thomas Doyle, in National Catholic Reporter, notes that a "massive
amount of research has been done into every aspect of clergy sex
abuse," so he does not expect anything new from this commission. Fr.
Doyle concludes, however, that the church is responding effectively to
this debacle, but it's not the institutional church, nor is it the
clergy. It is the People of God, the victims, their families, their
supporters, and a very few clerics and religious who have risen to the
occasion. The hope for the future rests with them.

That's us--the hope for the future. Today's second reading reminds us
that our baptism -our anointing--requires three things of us as
"children of light:" we commit ourselves first to associate with
goodness; then to avoid darkness as well as expose it; and finally to
use our light to show others the way.

In today's Gospel, the man born blind is physically cured, and the
result is that his relationships change dramatically. Everybody was
comfortable with him as a blind beggar. His parents grow afraid--they
fear that they will be barred from the synagogue because of his cure.
The synagogue officials can't accept the cure--it doesn't come from
them, so they try to discredit it. The man is left with Jesus, and he
is spiritually cured as well.

Like that man born blind, we find that the way we see ourselves and
our world can change. We see differently with age and maturity.
Suffering, trauma, or loss can shift our world. Our spiritual sight 

sharpens. We begin to see more clearly the Way that Jesus offers. 
And we notice that some of our religious leaders don't "see." 
They remain blind to the truth. They act on false premises, 
thinking they can do no wrong.

Seeing ourselves in right relationship with the Di
vine Presence
changes our life. We work to put things in right order--the
definition of justice. We work to make and keep our relationships
balanced and true. We weigh options, and find that man-made rules 
arealways second to God's rules, to the commandment to love.

We are the ones called now: called to risk misunderstanding,
accusations, and exclusion because we see. Lots of ways to answer the
call! Many of you will be going to Dr. Ruby Payne's presentation on
poverty next Thursday evening at Central Catholic, taking another step
towards seeing more clearly--taking off the blinders to--the problem of
racism in our community. As a church Community we have resolved to
look closely at the environment and speak out against the systems that
undermine care for God's creation.

We see. And because we see, we must take action. It's a moral
imperative for us.

--
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor
419-727-1774

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