15 July 2012, Take Nothing for the Journey

July 15, 2012 at 19:36 Leave a comment

In today’s Gospel Story (Mark 6:7-13) Jesus sends his followers out two by two to teach the people what they had learned from him. In the OT Reading Amos gets into trouble because he was preaching at the king’s sanctuary and saying things the king didn’t want him to say. Some interesting possibilities.

In the OT Story the kings and the religious factions had an alliance. The religions used the king to support and enforce their views, and vice versa. As history has shone any number of times, it is not good when religion and state are closely entwined. Perhaps a lesson or two for today.

When Jesus sent his followers out to teach the folks what they had learned from him, he did not give them a list of questions and answers along with a code of conduct. He simply told them to pass on what they had learned from the time they had spent with him. They were to offer what they had to teach, and if the folks accepted it, fine.If not, they were to leave. He did not lay down any requirements, require folks to pass any tests, are anything like that.

The disciples had spent a lot of time with Jesus. They learned how he lived his Fathers love, and they were to do the same. They learned he spent tiime with his Father in prayer, and then went to see the folks his Father sent into his life every day, and who needed the gifts his Father had given him. They were to do likewise.

As the OT Story shows, God reveals Godself to people who then formed some kind of a system to keep this revelation and pass it on. What started with good intentions degenerated into a system whose main goal is to protect itself against all other systems by claiming that it alone has the inside track to God. Somehow these systems and institutions seem to limit God’s freedom to act as God wishes by saying they alone can bring people to God, only those, however, who conform to the system’s viewpoints. And so loyalty to the system or institution becomes more important than being in relationship with the revealing God who is reaching out to folks. This has happened with virtually every religion throughout history, and it is happening now. Instead of a means to an end – a relationship with the revealing God – the system becomes the end in itself. It portrays itself as the only means to approach God. In effect, a given system says follow our rules, believe what we tell you to believe, and we will bring you to God. Thus a given system is restrictive instead of inclusive, perhaps the direct opposite of the Christ whose unique representatives it claims to be. Instead of pointing out God present and acting among us, these systems make themselves the unique means of getting to God. Obviously any who disagree with a given system and its interpretations are automatically wrong. Some groups have their own religious police who see their mission as enforcing orthodoxy — always in the name of God. There are quite a few of these systems, some large, some small. Many of them are not too nice about it.

Is this what Jesus had in mind?

Just sayin  .  .  .




Entry filed under: Catholic, Church Leadership, Current Church, Forbidden topics, Gospel thoughts, Priest. Tags: , , , , , , , .

10 July 2012, Thoughts on Schism 22 July 2012, Gospel Thoughts

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