Living Waters at Good Shepherd Hayesville, NC
Today’s Lenten readings are about living, healing waters and Jesus’ power to heal a man who had been ill for 38 years. Lenten scriptures and Lenten practice promote healing.
When I read Ezekiel and the graphic description of the healing waters which flow from the Temple, my mind’s eye goes to the Healing Waters fountain that flows forth in front of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Hayesville, NC. Our Order of St. Luke chapter is named the River of Healing Chapter and aptly so as healing waters flow forth in and from the church community. Continue reading
In the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel, John the Baptizer is arrested and Jesus comes on the scene. He stops by the Sea of Galilee and calls family fishermen to become fishers of men. Hence, we often have the sermon about the missionary call to save individual souls.
In Mark, Jesus’ call is much more than that. Mark’s Gospel begins by proclaiming the Good News—Gospel. Only the emperor could proclaim good news. Immediately, we see much more in what Mark is saying. Jesus is setting out to challenge the existing imperial order. Jesus is initiating a campaign to restore justice, right order and right relationships. In today’s parlance, we could call it the Occupy Jerusalem Movement to restore right order to the people of Israel who are oppressed by Roman and priestly domination. Hence, Jesus’ call of disciples is much more than a plain vanilla challenge to save souls. It is a challenge to restore all that is right and good and beautiful in Israel. It is a challenge to initiate the Kin—dom of God. In St. Bonaventure concept of justice, it is a call to restore people to beauty to that which is distorted. Continue reading
The readings for the First Sunday of Advent set the tone for the season. Richard Rohr, reflecting on Advent, tells us that we must adopt an adult view of Advent and Christmas. We always have a threefold dimension—part, present, and future. The past is the physical birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The present, about which we will say more, is the presence of the Risen Christ in our hearts and our universe. The future is the coming of the Cosmic Christ to bring all things to completion.
Jesus of Nazareth is history, so to speak. Jesus today lives on as the Christ—the Son of Man anointed by the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, the Christ lives in our hearts and in our communities of faith. Merton was fond of quoting the Eastern mystics, “God became human so that we might become divine.” Thus, Christ lives in us as our deepest reality, our true self which is aligned with the will of God as Jesus was during his earthly life. We are created in the image and likeness of God. God is our deepest reality. Continue reading
The Feast of Christ the King was instituted in 1925 to counter nationalism and secularism:
Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in his 1925 encyclical letter Quas Primas, in response to growing nationalism and secularism. The title of the feast was “D. N. Jesu Christi Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King), and the date was “the last Sunday of the month of October – the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints“. In Pope John XXIII‘s 1960 revision of the Calendar, the date and title remained the same and, in the new simpler ranking of feasts, it was classified as a feast of the first class.
In his 1969 motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis, Pope Paul VI gave the celebration a new title: “D. N. Iesu Christi universorum Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe). He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday in Advent, the earliest date for which is 27 November. Through this choice of date “the eschatological importance of this Sunday is made clearer”. He assigned to it the highest rank, that of “Solemnity”. (Wikipedia)
Almost 100 years later, the Church is still jousting with secularism. Constantine co-opted Christianity and the witness of Christians has never been quite the same as it was before. Thinking of Christ as King is actually counterproductive and, in my opinion, distorts the Gospel message. Continue reading
Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh
[I published this article in the Merton Seasonal, Winter 2009. I am posting it here because it gives background information from the scriptures and Thomas Merton on greed and economics and speaks directly to informing Christian conscience with regard to the Occupy Wall Street movement.]
We have been in a shattering worldwide economic crisis for the past several years. When people discuss the root causes of the crisis, the word most often heard is greed. I saw a book in a bookstore in Ireland this summer. The title of the book was The Banksters. Obviously bankers and Wall Street are bearing the brunt of blame for the crisis. It is commonly agreed that irregularities in the housing industry played a large role in precipitating the crisis. Generous loans with skyrocketing adjustable rates mortgages (ARMs), bankers extending credit where credit was not due, financial institutions bundling and selling this potentially bad paper, and prospective homeowners who wanted more house than they knew they could afford created the perfect storm, a cycle of greed. Continue reading
Jesus today addresses the Occupy Wall Street protestors around the world. He says:
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12:14)
Using the words written by Rabbi Lerner, Jesus spells it our for us:
We want to replace a society based on selfishness and materialism with a society based on caring for each other and caring for the planet. We want a new bottom line so that institutions, corporations, government policies, and even personal behavior is judged rational or productive or efficient not only by how much money or power gets generated, but also by how much love and kindness, generosity and caring, environmental and ethical behavior, and how much we are able to respond to the universe with awe, wonder and radical amazement the grandeur and mystery of all Being. To take the first steps, we want to eliminate ban all money from elections except that supplied by government on an equal basis to all major candidates, require free and equal time for the candidates and prohibit buying other time or space, and require corporations to get a new corporate charter once every five years which they can only get if they can prove a satisfactory history of environmental and social responsibility to a jury of ordinary citizens. We call this the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the US Constitution (ESRA). We want to replace the mistaken notion that homeland security can be achieve through a strategy of world domination by our corporations suppoted by the US military and intelligence services with a strategy of generosity and caring for others in the world that will start by launching a Global Marshall Plan that dedicates 1-2% of our GMP ever year for the next twenty to once and for all eliminate global poverty homelessnes, hunger, inadequate education and inadequate health care–knowing that this, not an expanded militarr, is what will give us security. And we want a NEW New Deal that provides a job for everyone who wants to work, jobs that rebuild our environment and our infrastructre, and jobs that allow us to take better care of educating our youth and caring for the aged. That’s what we are for! And you can read more about them at www.spiritualprogressives.org
These are Gospel values which we must proclaim to empire. We must shout from the parks and the rooftops, “Jesus is Lord.” Do not build barns for your surplus because you cannot take it with you.