Greetings on this the Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Readings: Acts 11:1-18; PS 42:2-3; 43:3, 4; Jn 10:1-10
Notes: I sometimes write historical notes here so that years from now, I can recall the societal situation present when I wrote this reflection. Think of it, today we look backwards to the past to recall the stories of the human family. One day these words will be read the same way (if not mine specifically, but those of other Christian writers who write in this Age).
2022 – Athirst is my soul for the living God.
Discrimination and racial bias continue in the USA despite many advances. Even now the struggle is how hard to press forward against the strategy of consolidating the gains and the counter strategy of rolling back social justice advances. There seems to not be enough repeating stories, and forgotten famous stories, of the past. Black, Brown, Jewish, gender and ethnic suppression have become the stuff of fairytales with a false ending of Happily Ever After.
Peter says, we must continue to advance in justice. Jesus, as attested in the gospel of Luke, is entirely interested in Justice in this life and Justice in the next. All Justice is Social Justice. That literally is the meaning.
Women’s Autonomy, even at the risk of mortal and moral death, is a right of creation. It is a fight at its core not of women “wanting” something intrinsically evil but of women being without something more positive: respect, dignity and autonomy. The Roe v Wade debate has lost its vitality to the intrinsic and hidden evils of suppression of women.
Peter says, we must aid in crisis and cry when choices are made contrary to life but within the realm of autonomy. Autonomy is not an unbound chaos but based on discernable yet lamentable standards that offer pathways forward even as it suffers over choices made. Jesus is the gate and the sheep know and trust his voice. This kindness is the path, not of religion but of kindness. Lovingkindness, Hesed.
The USA is suffering from the phenomenon known as Hatriotism, a slighting term for those who practice false Patriotism, creating dividing lines between and among the People.
Peter says, false patriotism is evil.
War rages in Europe. Ukraine was unjustly invaded by Russia. This is not in dispute. The fanciful reasons given by the Czar Putin, are not much different than those who practice institutional discrimination, dominance, false threat, acquisition, alliance, and advantage.
Peter says, victims of war need our spiritual and humanitarian aid and if necessary more. The gate is to the places of peace, here and now and the age to come.
The Church herself is being divided even as I type. Pope Francis took the extraordinary step of criticizing Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, for his obvious and direct support of the Russian war against Ukraine.
Peter says, we must correct those who are leaders without conscience. Whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. Jesus clearly had no use for leaders who profit against and abuse the sheep.
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating.
Athirst is my soul for the living God.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Peace be with you,