Friday, October 3, 2014

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community 27OT on Oct. 5, 2014 by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Matthew makes the story in today’s Gospel
into an allegory about Jesus,
using it to comment on the political and religious situation
of his community.
In earlier non-canonical writings, like the Gospel of Thomas,
Jesus tells it as a parable,
a parable about life and death.
Jesus tells of a landowner
who works hard to make the land productive
and leases it out.
Then the leaseholders want more than their fair share—
they are envious of what belongs to another,
they are greedy for more than they have earned,
and they lust for power and control—
so they kill to get what they want.
This is truly a parable for our times.
We human beings have been blessed with a planet of good things
and the ability to thrive on it.
It’s our leasehold.
But, like the leaseholders in the parable,
we are killing the source that sustains our life.
We kill with our wars and our weapons.
We kill by denying the right of all others
to life, food, shelter, work, and a safe and healthy community.
We kill the land and water and air that sustains life.
Despite all our blessings as inhabitants of this great green planet,
we act as if it’s all ours to do with as we wish,
no matter who or how many have to die
to satisfy our greed.
As a result, what does God find in our vineyard?
• Microcystin in Lake Erie water intake,
and too many of our politicians waiting for someone else
to take the first step to fix it.
• Lead poisoning damaging our children’s brains and nerves, and a city
council that won’t take action because they make money from renting
contaminated properties or want campaign contributions from the real
estate industry.
• Dangerous tar sands about to be transported through Toledo for
processing in Oregon, fracking in Findlay and Bowling Green, and a
slowed-down effort toward renewable energy.
• Injection wells in Clyde releasing cancer-causing chemicals into the
water and air, with no oversight required by our state government as
children continue to die of cancer.
• Toxic waste on fire in the north Toledo landfill, with an official
Health Department response telling the neighborhood people—many of
whom are too poor to afford air conditioners—to stay inside and not
breathe the air.
• Climate change around the globe, with increasingly devastating
floods, droughts, fires, typhoons, tornadoes—and an Ohio government
that puts a hold on reducing carbon dioxide emissions by power plants.
• The poorest workers getting less pay for more work and the
unemployed getting their benefits cut while the wealthiest people pile
up more deductions, exemptions, privilege, and power.
Isaiah puts it well:
Our God looks for justice,
but finds bloodshed;
for integrity,
but hears only a cry of distress.
Will our grandchildren bless us for what we do now, or curse us for it?
It’s up to us.
But what are we to do?
Sometimes it seems overwhelming.
Many people and organizations are calling on public officials to take action,
and that’s good.
The 300,000 marchers in New York last month did a good thing.
The Great March for Climate Action that went through Toledo last weekend
on its way from California to Washington, DC, is doing a good thing.
But we are a part of the problem
• if we don’t vote,
• if we don’t speak out,
• if we waste,
• if we use more than our share.
So we have to change.
We have to do something.
We can become part of the solution.
Jesus didn’t call his followers to recite rules or learn dogma
or study church law more carefully.
He called them to follow him on the Way.
He called them to walk the walk with him,
to bring about the reign of God by their own actions.
We have decided that we want to walk with Jesus along the Way,
so we have to do something
about the killing of our planet and the people on it.
It will require, as Paul put it to the Philippians,
that our thoughts be wholly directed to all that is true, all that
deserves respect,
all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise.
We can make a difference:
I’ve seen many of you taking steps—
not just one little baby step but lots of big steps,
like writing letters to public officials and circulating petitions
about issues of violence and injustice around the globe;
working with Pax Christi, TUSA, and NWOPC;
protesting at Fort Benning and BP and Monsanto;
joining GreenFaith and Amnesty International;
taking the Catholic Climate Covenant pledge;
reducing, reusing, and recycling… the list goes on.
It doesn’t have to be complicated.
I know people who don’t use drive-throughs any more;
people who plant home food gardens; people who take shorter showers.
Some of you are planning to do even more
by showing up at Sanger Library this coming Thursday
to talk about how we can have even more of an impact
as individuals and as citizens working together on the climate crisis.
Some of you are registering voters.
Several of you have told me
you’re not planning to turn the heat on in October.
And I expect that all of you are preparing to vote in November.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
Blessed are you who are doing something.
You are indeed on the Way.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

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