Saturday, August 13, 2016

Gospel text for Sunday 14 August 2016



























Luke 12:49-56        Jesus said, "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother,mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, `It is going to rain'; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

Reflection         When Jesus sets out to propagate God’s mission of Compassion for all people his eyes are wide open, he looks squarely into the face of reality and recognizes the presence of unruly, uncivilized, unwilling wild cards in the mix. Which is why Jesus asserts, “From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother,mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Our decision to live the Compassionate Way of Jesus, dignifying all people, loving our neighbors as ourselves, being willing to sacrifice by elevating the common good above our personal self interest,  our decision to be the revelation of Christ’s all inclusive love on earth puts us crosswise with lots of people, some of them in our own families.  Some of our friends will call us fools when we make choices for the common good rather than our personal gain or satisfaction.  Some of our family members will disown or disinherit us when we choose to see beyond external appearances to dignify all people. Compassion is a two-edged sword.

Jesus said, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!”

The provocative book written by the Jesuit priest Greg Boyle titled, “Tattoos of the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion” offers a collection of heart rending and mind wracking tales of his work with Los Angeles gang members. Although “G,” as the Homeboys call Boyle, is widely acclaimed for his thirty years of humanitarian and peace making work with members of fourteen Los Angeles gangs he has also provoked boatloads of public ridicule, social outrage and threats from neighbors disparaging his compassion for such “hoodlums” and opposing his presence in their neighborhood.

But G did not come to bring peace. He came to bring division. He came to shake up the status quo that avowed gang members are less than human, they have no place in the community, they do not deserve respect, they cannot be trusted with a job, basically there is no hope nor place for them. G came to show that even the most cruel and callous gangbanger can be transformed and tenderized by unrelenting compassion. The secret at the heart of G’s ministry is this; he looks beyond the external gang banging behaviors, sees the belovedness of the dissolute young males and females standing in front of him and  refuses to give up on them until they experience themselves as beloved.  In his words, “Out of the wreck of misshapen selves the no matter whatness of God dissolves the toxicity of shame.” 

Please listen to G's message on the TED talk found in the upper right hand corner of this page. 


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