SABBATH REFLECTION – MATTHEW 10:37-42 – 28TH June, 2020
What have we done to the name ‘God’, the name ‘Jesus’, the name ‘Christ’? We have so damaged these ‘names’ by our shocking tendency to divide, to separate, to claim a god who loves some and not others, who favours this group and not others, who discriminates in the name of god, who goes to war in the name of god, who annihilates the planet in the name of god …. You get the picture? This god language has become a turn off for many people, and I might say, for good reason.
I would like to use the word ‘Love’ within the first paragraph of today’s gospel wherever there is a reference to Jesus, and we might see just how differently it reads and feels. ‘Love instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to LOVE, is not worthy of LOVE. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to LOVE is not worthy of LOVE. Anyone who does not take up their cross and follow LOVE’S footsteps is not worthy of LOVE. Anyone who finds their life outside of LOVE will lose it, anyone who loses their life within LOVE will find it.’ The way we use language is so important. The way we understand it is even more important.
I think it was Karl Rahner who said we should not use the name God for fifty years because we have destroyed its meaning. I also remember a priest in our parish many years ago who said something like this: ‘ Some of my favourite people are atheists: because they refuse to believe in the god religions have often taught. I do not believe in that god either…..’ he said.
A couple of questions to ponder as we sit with all of this today: Is Love our ‘preference’ in Life above all else? Who do I ‘welcome’ in my life: do I ‘welcome’ Love as a Universal Reality, or do I only ‘welcome’ the things and people I love? Do we ‘welcome’ the prophets in our midst, or do we attempt to crucify them?
When we look through history, it is pretty clear we crucify the ‘prophets’ in our midst. Who are today’s ‘prophets’ (the disciples of Love) and how do we receive them? The First Australians for decades now have spoken and demonstrated their love of the Earth. Many condemned them with their claim to Native Title. Many condemned them when they declared the sacredness of the Land. Many condemned their Dreaming……. Many condemned their culture. If only we had listened. Instead we blow up ‘sacred sites’ to mine the land. White land takers massacred them so as to make claim on the land for themselves, often destroying it with over use, excessive land clearing, and lack of respect and knowledge of the land. WE not only crucified a culture, we also crucified the land.
What an unbelievably shocking thing it is that in this day and age, we even have to consider and ‘fight’ for the First Australians to be recognised within our colonial Constitution. And to think that there could be a risk of losing a referendum to have the First Australians recognised in this way, shows us very clearly just how we crucify the ‘prophets’ in our midst. Profoundly shocking.
There are ‘prophets’ all around us in various ways and forms. We seem to think a ‘prophet’ must be perfect, and if they are not ‘perfect’ (and in whose judgement!!!) then they are not worth listening too. ‘Prophets’ are not perfect (whatever ‘perfect’ might mean?) – they are not necessarily religious, but they are ALWAYS LOVERS. ‘Prophets’ will certainly disturb us, rattle us, confront us, unsettle us and show us the way of Love. So when we feel disturbed etc. and are tempted to crucify the ‘messenger’ opening up that disturbance without first looking deeply into our Hearts, into our prejudices and judgements etc. the invitation is to always ask ourselves: Whom or what am I ‘welcoming’ into my Heart? Whom or what am I crucifying?
© Annemarie Reiner