Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 3rd Sunday of Advent, Dec. 14, 2014 by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Today’s gospel puts Jesus squarely in the tradition of the prophets
and at the same time foresees that he will surpass
all the prophets and healers who have gone before.
The question of the day is Who are you?
Isaiah of Judea, who are you to be saying that?
John the Baptizer, who are you to be doing that?
Who are you, Jesus of Nazareth?
Who are WE, 21st century Christians,
to be saying what we say
and doing what we do?
It’s a dark world—war, genocide, greed, starvation,
refugees, disease, human trafficking,
violence on our streets and in our homes.
Slavery is still here!
It’s knit into the fabric of our society,
and we are faced with pulling the oppressive threads out,
one by one,
while trying to hold the good threads of our society together.
Our Congress members remind of us of the image of Nero
fiddling while Rome burned.
Toy guns look so real that police kill kids on playgrounds.
Typhoons and hurricanes grow stronger and more frequent
because our way of life
is raising the temperature of the oceans.
We read Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians
and ask how we can “rejoice always.”
How can we “give thanks in all circumstances?”
Paul must have thought
that the Thessalonians were posing that same question,
so he gave the answer:
Test everything,
keep what’s good,
stay away from evil.
We try to do that.
We hear the day’s news and the events of our lives
and ask what makes sense,
what is good
and what is not.
We look at the steady stream of deaths by gun.
We ask what makes sense, and what is good.
We write and phone our legislators
to pass the kind of sensible gun laws
that have worked in other states and other countries.
And we keep vigil for the victims and their families,
taking part in the National Gun Violence Sabbath Weekend
commemorating especially
the 20 children of Sandy Hook Elementary
who fell victims to gun violence
two years ago tomorrow [today].
We look
at Israel’s systematic bombing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip
and the river of Christian refugees seeking asylum,
and ask what makes sense and what is good.
We pray for a solution to the crisis.
We sponsor journalist Alison Weir’s presentation on the situation
so that we can hear Palestinian perspectives on the battle.
We stand with the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition
with our signs pleading for peace.
We look at the wealth gap in this country,
and the education gap,
and the inequities in the criminal justice system.
We look at the systemic racism in our society.
We ask what makes sense and what is good.
We pray for justice, for tolerance, for civility, for freedom for all.
We join the Toledo Community Coalition.
We take part in Dialogue-to-Change talks
with people of other races and ethnic groups.
We look at the projected impact of climate change
on our grandchildren
because of our habits of waste and using more than our share.
We ask what makes sense and what is good.
So we pray for wisdom and temperance.
We plan to plant trees to lessen the impact.
That exuberance in Isaiah—
The spirit of God is upon me!—
Justice will spring up before all the nations!—
that determination comes out of Isaiah
just as the Chosen People
are straggling out of the Babylonian captivity
and trudging back to their shattered land.
He sings out the glad tidings—the good news to the poor—
that their hearts and minds will rejuvenate
with the strength to rebuild and renew the nation.
That joy comes out of Paul
just as the Roman slaughter of both Jews and Christians
lies heavy on the land.
Rejoice, give thanks, he says, the God of peace is with you.
That expectation of the dawning of a new day
comes out of John
just as the oppression of Pax Romana—the Roman peace—
threatens annihilation of the people.
John is confident and hopeful: The light is coming!
They ask him, Who are you?
He answers: The voice of one crying in the wilderness!
The question comes to us today:
Are we making straight the way of God in our time?
Do we show such mercy and love and joy—
carry such good news to the poor—
that people will see us and ask, Who are you?
We are God’s people,
showing mercy and love and joy,
carrying good news to the poor,
so that, when we hear the question,
we have a ready answer:
The Spirit of God is upon us.
We are a voice crying out in the wilderness,
doing our best to make straight the way of God.

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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