September 27, 2015
26th Sunday OT_B


Signs there are everywhere of exclusivity and self-righteousness. Fundamentalists everywhere, of all persuasions, shapes, sizes and guises abound. They are people who lay claim to being the exclusively saved, the most beloved, the chosen, outside of whose group or denomination no one is worthy enough of God’s solicitous care and compassion.

A number of them are even violent about it and in defense of the selfish doctrine. There are those who even kill, in God’s name, in the name of their self-centered faith in a god who, at bottom, is intolerant of all those who oppose him even in the shallowest way.

Nothing new here … Even during the time of Moses, Eldad and Medad were looked at with disdain, for they were “phophesying in the camp.” They had to be stopped forthwith, at least according to those who were zealously guarding their god-given tasks.

Moses, we are told, would not hear any of it … “Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!”

But we humans are geniuses when it comes to shutting off other people from our midst. We find ways and means to be different, and to be heads and shoulders above everyone else. The snotty rich who look down on the dirt poor … doesn’t this sound all too familiar? The powerful few against the ignorant hoi polloi … does this not ring a bell in your ears? The ruling party against everyone else who does not belong … Isn’t this the story of even countries who call themselves champions of the proletariat and the powerless?

Hmmm… What did George Orwell say in “Animal Farm?” … All animals are equal, except, of course, those who are on top!

The Pope is just making the rounds of the land of the free and the home of the brave. Let us see … Lunch with elite and political bigwigs? No … lunch with the homeless and the outcasts? Yes …

No fire and brimstone threats against those who do not share his faith … No haranguing and harassing sermons against those who do not share his convictions … But he told them like it is … that unborn children have rights, too, not just adults who make it to the real world. He told them like it should be told, that families are under threats by the forces of secularization …

He has not come to shore up people’s religious fanatical beliefs and rally them against those who “will never be saved,” and those “who do not belong.”

He has come to talk from the heart to people of good will, in a country where pluralism is at the centerpiece of their table of values and concerns, but at the same time, a place where people, at bottom, are deeply hungry for God and His love.

I need to shed off my proud and mighty stance time and time again. I need to look less disapprovingly at others who “drive out demons in Christ’s name.” I need to revel in the lovely truth that God wants all men and women to be saved. And for me to shed off this attitude, I need to cut off attachment to sin and sinfulness – to sin that binds me hand and foot.

The Church I belong to … the God who has called me to belong … the faith that seeks to be rooted in the hearts and minds of people of good will is not a selfish and self-centered Church. She is God’s people, all together in journey towards fullness of life and salvation.

Here comes everybody! Welcome everybody! “Your word O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth!”