Saturday, August 03, 2013

Make Sacred

Make Sacred

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

This fiftieth year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.  It shall be a jubilee for you, when every one of you shall return to his own property, everyone to his own family estate.  Leviticus 25:10

The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.  His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.  His disciples came and took away the corpse and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.  Matthew 14:9-12


Father, the world You created is abundant, with enough for everyone provided that we restrain our appetites and live within appropriate limits. Jesus, you and your cousin John pointed out that disparities in wealth and power are not, in fact, part of the natural order. They are the result of human sinfulness. Therefore, this sin must be mitigated in communities of faith through strategies of just sharing and distribution of goods. Holy Spirit, help us answer the call of the prophets to change the direction in which we look for happiness -- and turn to strategies of redistribution and liberty for all who are held captive by greed. Help us to change our world of great economic inequality and poverty. Amen. 


The life and death of John the Baptist is a witness of the bold and the brave.  John was willing to speak truth to everyone – from the lowliest person who visited him in the desert to the King.  That message will cause us distress just like that felt by the King who had to live up to (or down to) his own bravado.  His message is the clarion call of the prophets and the call that Jesus echoed and amplified.  Change your ways. Repent.  Return to the family that the Lord has provided.
The first reading drills home the fact that when we deal with what is sacred, that we have to pay it special respect.  Yet, the sacred is not something which we encounter every 50 years – it is what we encounter every 50 seconds. 
We never know the price that we will pay for heeding this message.  We may not face beheading or crucifixion.  However, we know it will not be easy.


Last night I heard a story on the news about retirement…a topic still too far away in my future to worry.  The gist was that people who earn MORE THAN $750,000 annually retire after they are seventy years old. 
John’s message to the king was that he had to be in the right relationship with his sister-in-law.  I have to question the relationship this people have with money and power that they are not willing to give up control of their companies and treasuries to another generation of leaders.  One CEO cited in the story was over 90 and still runs his company. 

What is our relationship with others, with money and with power?  Maybe we will never has as much as a King or a CEO.  But it never hurts to reassess the role that these play in our lives.  There are, however, positive examples abounding about people who wrestle with building their lives around the right relationship with the temporal world.  The Bartimeus Cooperative Ministries is one such group.   They believe that as followers of Jesus, we should stanfor compassion and equity, and against all forms of oppression and violence.  To do this we must face our personal and political blindness to the realities of human suffering, as well as to God’s horizons of justice.  To do that, one of their practices is Sabbath Economics – making sure that money does not take too great a hold over our lives.

Visit to learn more about their approach to making sure there are enough economic resources for all.  

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