Pentecost + 23 (last) - Year A
Well, it has been quite a year.
Advent ------ Pope Benedict XVI discusses sexual abuse of children by priests while dining with cardinals and bishops.
Christmas -- The 112th United States Congress is convened. Republican Representative John Boehner of Ohio is elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, succeeding Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California.
Epiphany --- U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower who is thought to have revealed secret U.S. government documents to the international public, is reported to be held in solitary confinement awaiting trial by the United States for seven months now, treatment which the United Nations deems a form of torture when used for such prolonged periods.
Lent --------– An 9.0 magnitude earthquake hits offshore of Japan's Miyagi prefecture, producing tsunamis as high as 10 metres near the epicenter, reaching land throughout the Pacific ocean, and disabling nuclear reactors.
Easter ------– NATO jets fly over Tripoli on their mission to destroy Muammar Gaddafi's forces.
Ordinary ---– Occupy Wall Street begins and continues.
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Who amongst us will separate sheep from goats?
OK, each of us does it as we make our daily decisions.
Rats, that brings it back to what we are now doing as opposed to what we might do later.
Let’s not get caught up with some glorified mythology of cosmic judgment. It’s all we can do to set one more blessing loose in the world, to consciously choose (until it becomes second nature) to change one system that separates people out and then ignore them.
For instance what grabs your heart and won’t let go:
the hungry (“the food insecure” is too passive)?
those without potable water?
refugees looking for a home?
those without clothes for warmth or work?
inequitable health care systems focused on profit and illness?
punitive legal system untouched by restorative justice?
education systems locked into tests rather than learning how to learn?
religions not trusting G*D and making up rules for lesser gods?
mental illnesses that remove people from community?
Choose one arena in which to both apply bandaids and reform systems. Note how far we have fallen short in that one area as we come to the end of another year. Commit to one thing that will be different by this time next year because you will have shifted your weight from protecting your own “inheritance” to investing in a better outcome for all those who are no longer visible.
Remember this vision is not the end of Matthew. We go on to hear of Passover two days hence and a plot, betrayal, and death; and a surprise - both capable of engaging our life. Don’t settle for closing the year with a dualistic courtroom scene when you could be planning a feast, accepting consequences of building common good, and heading on to some edenic “galilee” where we see face-to-face.