Pentecost +17 - Year B
Bigotry arising from self-absorption is deeply troubling because it substitutes a partiality that denies the expansive and expanding opportunities of love and mercy. Disciples, to this day, attempt to wrestle one another for the top of a totem pole and to deny any not in the loop an opportunity to come in. This includes us all, just different issues for which we battle. So we move from identity issue to identity issue and cycle back through them with a variety of bigotry permutations.
What a gift it is to have this line available to us: Mark 9:40 “Whoever is not against us is for us.”
Applying this in any of the cultural “wars” would help to diffuse them. So often we set up figures of straw we can claim are against us, when they are not. When loosed from this process we find the zest and preservation of life renewed.
Thus the Jesus of reason.
And then Jesus does exactly to his disciples as they would do to others not of their esteemed position. Listen to the extreme imagery of cutting off parts of ourself as if such physical absence would make any difference in one’s approach to life.
Thus the Jesus of extreme religion.
Now the test in our own bifurcated lives: If “salt” is “fire”, have fire/passion/zeal in yourself and have peace with one another and all others. As a practicing saint, practice this combination of fiery peace. Go ahead, try it, you may like it.