Archive for 1995
Something is coming. Two voices proclaim the same thing. Hear the voice of a desert herald: Prepare the way, something is coming. Hear the voice of an ancient prophet: A dead stump is sprouting, something is coming.
Two voices, as unlike as day and night, are agreed. Something is coming.
December 10th, 1995
These are bloody readings! Readings of torture and death — yet here we are moving towards the holiday season! Our year is moving to its end in celebration, while the Church year comes to an end in violence. Which is more real?
In these weeks, Jesus has been on the road to Jerusalem. Last week in Jericho with Zacchaeus he drew close. This week he’s here, in the Holy City, which has welcomed him with a political rally and great rejoicing and will soon crush him as it always crushes the prophets of peace. Next week he’ll be in the very heart of the Temple promising its downfall and his own death. And soon, just outside the walls of Jerusalem, he will be nailed, under a mocking sign, between earth and sky.
November 12th, 1995
Justice is not easy to come by. We know that justice is not easy to come by. We know that people don’t start off in life with an equal chance. We know that the laws that we make deepen that injustice. And we know that often enough politics, and police, and the whole machinery of law—the very system that is supposed to guarantee justice—is hopelessly biased. Justice doesn’t come easily if you are not male, if you are not white, if you don’t have money, if you don’t live in the right place, or you don’t speak with the right accent.
We know it, we joke about it. It’s a fact of life. And it seems to be getting worse.
October 22nd, 1995
One word echoes around and around these readings today: faith. And the way faith is talked about makes it sound like a fragile thing, a thing in short-supply, or at least something you have to work at to keep. Like the ashes of a fire that have to be stirred into flame. Like a rich treasure that has to be guarded. Like a message that has to be written in big letters to jog the memory. Like a tiny seed that has to be planted and cared for.
But what is it? What is this faith we are talking about? The gospel gives us a good image of the experience of faith — it’s like standing in front of an enormous sycamore tree and wondering how to uproot it and throw it into the sea. Not with tools and trucks, not even with bare hands, but with a word. Imagine it. This is the experience of faith — or of despair, for the only difference is in what you do. And what makes all the difference is that despair does nothing but faith plants a seed in the hope it will make a difference. Faith is planting a seed in the shadow of a sycamore.
October 8th, 1995