Women Priests Bingle and Lee Dialogue on Christ The King – Homilies Nov 24,2013
This Sunday the church celebrates Christ the King. In our post-modern era we know little about kings and value democracy and participatory forms of government. There are examples of ‘good kings’, but for us ‘kings’ are synonomous with dictators. But when Jesus was born corrupt kings and puppet kings like King Herod were alive and well. The Hebrew people wanted a king to conquer Herod and the Romans and restore Israel.
What kind of King was Jesus, the Christ? Did he accept kingship as his mission? Our gospel today is from the cross where Jesus suffers greatly, is crowned with thorns, and still tells the thief who recognized his power beyond death ” “today you shall be with me in paradise”. (Luke 23;43) This is the king with the power of life, including eternal life and every encounter with Jesus is life-giving, now and forever. Paradise, according to George Lamsa, (Idioms in the Bible Explained… p.59) is a Persian word for a beautiful garden; a place of harmony and tranquility”. The kingdom or kin-dom (family) of God on earth and forever is a place of harmony-a peaceful kingdom. The old adage, if you want peace work for justice applies. The operative word is “WORK” for the reign of God to come. As Samuel anointed David a king to shepherd God’s people, Jesus teaches us by word and deed what a good shepherd is and does, and what a shepherd king does.
On Palm Sunday Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Zephaniah 9:9 “Look here your King comes to you; he is just and a savior,meek and riding upon an ass, upon a coal, the foal of an ass”. Only the poorest of people in the Near East would ride on a donkey-never a prince or nobleman as an ass usually signified disgrace, rejection and humiliation. Jesus chose to ride the colt because he represented the old ideas of the Israelite rulers who lived among the people in meekness and humility not as overlords”. (Rocco Errico “…And There Was Light, pp. 133-135). He would not fulfill the hopes of some for political victory or military might but he would fulfill his destiny in showing the way of truth, no matter what it cost him. (John 18 37 a). In John’s Gospel he says that his kingdom is not “of this world”,not political or military, but it is the peaceable kingdom coming into the world through radical love and justice for the poor, exploited, outcast and left out. What a wonderful leader,our servant king.
Rev. Bingle and I agree that Jesus is not a king of domination but a king of serving one another. In the women priest movement we rarely use the word “Lord” because of the connotation of “lording it over” that goes with it and Jesus was never one to “lord it over” anyone, as. Rev. Bingle says he became upset with his disciples when they wanted power for him and for themselves. He was not about power but he was about transformation of people and nations. That took a whole different kind of power. The power of radical love.
Rev. Beverly Bingle’s Homily:
” If there’s one thing that history teaches us for sure, it’s that it’s
easy to stray from Jesus’ message. While he was still walking among
them, even his closest disciples gave him problems. They struggled
with who he was. His way was outside their understanding—above all
they had even dared to think, beyond anything they had ever hoped. He
showed them God’s presence. It was a heady experience.
They saw him feed 5,000 people by sharing five loaves and two fish.
They wanted to make him king. Jesus said no—I’m not a king and don’t
want to be—and he went into hiding.
Peter suggested kingship, and Jesus called him a devil for suggesting
that Jesus would want to be exalted to use power and force over
James and John wanted seats at the right and left hand of power, and
Jesus was disturbed at them. He told them it couldn’t be that way
with them because those in power who don’t know God try to lord it
over others. He told them that the one who leads has to be the
servant of all.
Jesus taught jubilee justice—a “year of favor” that comes when we
share what we have, reach out to heal and comfort, befriend the weak
and forgotten, lift up the poor. In the Sermon on the Mount he
praised the peacemakers and applauded the folks who work for justice.
His message was clear: Jesus preached the dignity and worth of every
person, and that threatened the powerful in church and state. Those
rulers had to be #1. They wanted to be on top, and they would do
anything to stay there. Jesus was too much for them. So they arrested
him and executed him. After he died, the disciples continued to
experience his presence still with them, to remember what he had said
and done. They re-told the story, trying to describe this
extraordinary man who showed them the way to a place of peace and
justice on earth. Their experience of Jesus was beyond words, but
they had to use words to describe it. Ironically, from the very
beginning they chose the word that Jesus himself had rejected: king.
People are still alive who remember when this Solemnity of Christ the
King was set in stone, back in 1924, at the end of World War I, to a
people devastated by the killing of millions by the violent powers of
states around the world, by a Pope living in the midst of kings and
carnage. It was a statement that called for allegiance to God and
turning away from the violence of that war and the earthly kings who
had caused it. The Church was trying to make clear that the world
that counts is God’s world, the power that counts is God’s power. Not
land. Not stockpiles of oil or corn or gold. Not Wall Street. Not
Main Street. Not the power of guns and bombs. That kind of
domination leadership—the kingship of oppression—is still with us.
“Watch out for good ol’ number one,” we hear. “Take care of yourself;
nobody else will.” Like the disciples, we miss the point.
Last month the Eagles football team at Olivet Middle School in
Michigan chose to use their power the way Jesus did. Unknown to their
coach, the 8th graders put their heads together and came up with a
play that gently nudged their Downs Syndrome teammate into the end
zone for a touchdown. Not only did the team’s action lift Keith Orr,
it helped them, too. As one of the team members said, “I kind of went
from being somebody who mostly cared about myself and my friends to
caring about everyone and trying to make everyone’s day and everyone’s
life.” They gave up their glory and used their power for someone
We have that kind of power. Some of us have political power—to write
to Congress, to cast a vote for the common good. Some of us have
economic power—to hire help, to spare a couple of bucks. Some of us
have personal power—to smile, to say hi, to phone a friend, to visit a
hospitalized neighbor, to take a welcome cake to a new neighbor.
Every time we send the price of a pizza to a charity—every time we
stand aside and open a door for someone—we use our power for good.
When we do that—when we love and serve others—we get Jesus’ message
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Following King Jesus Pastor Judy Lee
Following Jesus means to imitate Jesus, and that is hard to do.
Like the disciples, we often misunderstand what Jesus said and did. He hung out with sinners and outcast people, he accepted women as equals, he reversed the order of things-the last shall be first- and he put the poor and oppressed, the outcast and the stranger and foreigner ahead of the religious and arrogant folks of the times. As Rev. Bingle said he threatened the powers that be and they nailed him to the cross. Yet, death could not hold him.
For most of us, there is little persecution and no threat of death, but it is still necessary and often difficult to put serving God’s people first and to put the poorest among us, justice and peace above self-interest. The story of Oscar Romero is an inspiration to us as we try, as he did, to imitate the life of Christ. Romero lives again not only in the Salvadorian people but in all who work and risk for the kindom of God to come on earth, the kindom of love and justice for all, the “peaceable kingdom.”
This is by Brother David who is quoting from a book by Robert Ellsberg cited at the bottom. With Archbishop Romero may we believe in and strengthen “the church of God, the people” so it will rise again from the ashes and never die.
“At the same time he (Romero) seemed to draw strength and courage from the poor campesinos, who embraced him with affection and understanding. “With this people,” he said, “it is not hard to be a good shepherd.”
“When you hear the voice of the man commanding you to kill, remember instead the voice of God. Thou Shalt Not Kill”
The social contradictions in El Salvador were rapidly reaching the point of explosion. Coups, countercoups, and fraudulent elections brought forth a succession of governments, each promising reform, while leaving the military and the death squads free to suppress the popular demand for justice. As avenues for peaceful change were systematically thwarted, full-scale civil war became inevitable. In 1980, weeks before his death, Romero sent a letter to President Jimmy Carter appealing for a halt to further U.S. military assistance to the junta, “thus avoiding greater bloodshed in this suffering country.” On March 23, 1980, the day before his death, he appealed directly to the members of the military, calling on them to refuse illegal orders:
“We are your people. The peasants you kill are your own brothers and sisters. When you hear the voice of the man commanding you to kill, remember instead the voice of God. Thou Shalt Not Kill….In the name of God, in the name of our tormented people whose cries rise up to heaven, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you, stop the repression.”
The next day, as he was saying Mass in the chapel of the Carmelite Sisters’ cancer hospital where he lived, a single rifle shot was fired from the rear of the chapel. Romero was struck in the heart and died within minutes.
Romero was immediately acclaimed by the people of El Salvador, and indeed by the poor throughout Latin America, as a true martyr and saint. For Romero, who clearly anticipated his fate, there was never any doubt as to the meaning of such a death. In an interview two weeks before his assassination, he said:
“I have frequently been threatened with death. I must say that, as a Christian, I do not believe in death but in the resurrection. If they kill me, I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people.
“Martyrdom is a great gift from God that I do not believe I have earned. But if God accepts the sacrifice of my life then may my blood be the seed of liberty, and a sign of the hope that will soon become a reality… A bishop will die, but the church of God – the people – will never die.” “
Sincere thanks to Robert Ellsberg
for permission to use this chapter from his book All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses From Our Time. “Since soon after it came out; I have used this book for daily spiritual reading and still find it inspiring.” —Br. David
Blessings to all as we celebrate Christ the Servant King’
Pastor Judy Lee,ARCWP