Monday, September 14, 2015

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 25th OT, Sept. 20th, Beverly Bingle, RCWP

The Gospel this week has Jesus and the disciples
walking through Galilee on the way to Capernaum.
Mark starts with the second of three predictions by Jesus
of his suffering, death, and rising,
the first of which was in last week's Gospel passage.
Once the group arrives in Capernaum, Mark sets a scene
with dialogue between Jesus and the disciples.
Mark creates the scene,
and Mark creates the discussion
of who among them was the greatest,
and Mark creates the words of Jesus.
Nevertheless, the passage reveals a true teaching from Jesus,
the teaching that, if anyone wishes to be first,
the way to do that is to be the servant of all,
even of the anawim,
the least significant in the eyes of the society.
Monsignor William Mehrkens calls this teaching
the most revolutionary teaching of all the sayings of Jesus.
He points out that domination
has been the persistent form of governing human society
for at least 5,000 years—
domination and oppression of people by people,
nation over nation, government over subjects,
rich over poor, adults over children, and men over women.
The Jesus system of governance, Mehrkens says,
ends the exploitation of the few by the many
in that it gives the poor
a way to transcend the domination while still in it.
In his encyclical Laudato Si'
Pope Francis gives a concrete example
of how to be the last and servant of all
in the context of an integral human ecology,
calling us—as Jesus did—
to a whole new dimension of Christian life.
He writes that we are brothers and sisters with everyone—
our family and friends... and enemies,
and that this communal love extends to all of creation,
inspiring us to love and accept the wind,
the sun and the clouds,
the entire universe.
So, Francis says, “we must regain the conviction
that we need one another,
that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world,
and that being good and decent are worth it.”
Today's first reading from the Book of Wisdom gives us a picture
of what happens to people who try to do the right thing.
We know the lesson from our own lives:
people who do good get targeted and attacked
by people who are looking for good only for themselves,
who serve their own needs and wants and desires—
who only look out for #1, as it's often put.
We learned about it in grade school,
when classmates taunted us
for getting better grades than they did.
“Teacher's pet,” they called us, or worse.
We learned it on the job, when we found out
that loyalty meant defending or covering up
for the boss or the company
instead of blowing the whistle
on a harmful product or a manipulative process.
We learned it every time we stood up for someone
against the powerful,
whether it was in the family or in the neighborhood
or in the community.
When we were kids, we called them bullies.
We grow up to identify them as thugs. Tyrants.
James calls his community to peace with justice,
warning them about spending their time and energy
trying to get what they want for themselves
instead of serving one another as Jesus asked.
Pope Francis echoes James' warning, saying that
“We have had enough of immorality
and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith, and honesty….
When the foundations of social life are corroded,
what ensues are battles over conflicting interests,
new forms of violence and brutality,
and obstacles to the growth of a genuine culture
of care for the environment.”
Francis points to a solution that is within our reach,
to practice love in the “little way” of Saint Therese of Lisieux,
“not to miss out on a kind word, a smile,
or any small gesture which sows peace and friendship.”
Francis calls us to practice an integral ecology
made up of simple daily gestures
which break with the logic
of violence, exploitation, and selfishness.
And he speaks out forcefully
against our “world of exacerbated consumption”
that “mistreats life in all its forms.”
He encourages us to acts of love both little and large,
from the small gesture,
to political life,
to work with organizations
that promote the common good and defend the environment.
The bottom line is that we are one with all of humanity
and one with all the universe,
a common people living in a common home.
This perspective flies in the face
of much of the world as we know it,
the self-serving philosophy that twists the golden rule
to tell us to do unto others before they do it to us.

We're nearing the end
of the 11 days of the 2015 Global Compassion Games,
counting volunteers and hours served and people helped.
It's a game that everybody wins,
not only because people are served by our compassion
but also because we become aware of more ways
that we can be compassionate
as we go about our everyday lives.
That's what Jesus is teaching us when he embraces that child,
that poor, insignificant child,
the least among them,
and tells us that when we embrace the least among us
we ourselves are are in God's embrace.
When we stand in God's embrace,
we have everything we need.
No one—no matter how rich or powerful—can take it from us.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006
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Posted by: Beverly Bingle  

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