Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for November 24, 2013

| 2 Samuel 5: 1-3 | Colossians 12: 1-20 | Luke 23: 35-43 | 34 Ordinary C’13 (Christ the King) |

Scripture Readings: Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe Lectionary: 162

Print PDF: Weekly Homily 11.24.2013

Jim Hogan4Stop! * On this last Sunday of our liturgical year, we are asked to “stop” and look again at the man on the cross, the one his accusers called “King.” In 1924, the Bishop of Rome — Pius XI, was negotiating with the Mussolini government, hoping to settle a dispute between the Italian government and the Vatican. He established this feast of Christ the King. Now situated at the conclusion of our liturgical year, this feast prompts us to recall what it means to be Christ-bearers.

We pride ourselves on being “a Christian nation.” God and country may go together. Then again, they may not, and often do not -our claim to be a “Christian nation” as measured by the life and teaching of Jesus, whom we name “the Christ.”

Jesus of the gospels was about service, not domination. He neither called himself “king” nor
acted like one.

He was a man whose love was unconditional. In the face of hatred and violence he remained true to his own character and teaching. He modeled for us what unconditional love is like. It is our privilege to be “Christ-bearers.” To be such means imitating him and bringing his transforming spirit into the world of the 21st century.

I direct your attention to a 1973 decision of the United States Supreme Court. In that decision, the Court voided the anti-abortion laws of Texas and Georgia. This homily is not about abortion. I refer to that decision because it provides a platform or backdrop for us to recall what it means to be a Christ-bearer.

In response to that decision, our Catholic bishops issued a clear, radical statement. They declared:

“we reject this decision of the Court. … Whenever a conflict arises between
the law of God and any human law, we are held to follow God’s law. No one
is obliged to obey any civil law” that conflicts with the law of God.

At that time the leadership of our Catholic Community proclaimed: “We shall not, we cannot obey laws or policies of our government that deny or are in conflict with the life and teaching of Jesus!”

“We shall not, we cannot obey.” If that sounds negative, “stop” and look again at the man on the cross, the one his accusers called “King.” Our bishops wrote those words forty years ago because they appreciated our shared privilege of being Christ-bearers.

If we claim to be a Christian nation while our drones cause innocent casualties, and great suffering; if we claim to be a Christian nation while destroying essential infrastructure and the natural environment; if we claim to be a Christian nation while keeping suspected terrorists incarcerated in Guantanamo or enabling the government of Israel to keep Palestinians locked in tragedy; if we claim to be a Christian nation while refusing to provide health care for the least among us; then either we have to pretend that we as a nation are like Jesus, or acknowledge that we as a nation neither accept his teaching, nor imitate his life.

When we who are “Christ-bearers” are confronted by violent laws and/or policies that “are in conflict with the life and teaching of Jesus,” “we shall not, we cannot obey.” Our nation desperately needs people like us who are committed to love without condition.

In his life style and teaching, Francis, the new Bishop of Rome seems to get the message. Malala, the 15-year old Pakistani shot in the head last year for organizing girls to seek education, seems to get the message!

If you get the message, then “stop!” Reaffirm your responsibility to imitate Christ. Be a “Christ-bearer!” Bring his transforming spirit into the world of the 21st century. The cycle of violence in which our nation is trapped will be transformed by the spread of unconditional love through us.

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5 Responses to Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for November 24, 2013

  1. Think we can convince the Bishops?
    Rosemary, how about sending this on to all the U.S. Bishops.

  2. bud malby says:

    Here is a good companion piece from America Magazine to Jim Hogan’s thoughts for this week.

    It is by Jason Berry. Here’s a tiny snippet.

    “In our day, as the power of the state supersedes religion in Western democracies, many parts of America cleave to the essence of religious penalty—an eye for an eye. State-sponsored killing has expanded to extra-judicial killing by the White House, using drones to wipe out suspected terrorists in faraway spots on the map of Islam, with innocent people in the environs written off as collateral damage.

    “In “Reflections on the Guillotine,” Camus wrote with the unerring precision of a prophet: “I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice.”

  3. Sr. Rita Kohut says:

    A Christian Nation 2013 ?

    “When did we see you hungry, thirsty, away from home, naked, ill or imprisoned?”
    “When I was Hungry…”
    you curtailed the SNAP program.
    “When I was thirsty…”
    you allowed fracking to contaminate the water.
    “When I was a stranger…”
    you built a wall to keep me out.
    “When I was naked…”
    you clothed me garments made in third world sweatshops.
    “When I was ill…”
    you struggled mightily to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
    “When I was in prison…”
    you incarcerated more than other nations and they were disproportionately
    people of color.
    “I assure you, as often as you neglected to do it for one of the least ones you neglected to do it to me.”
    “When I was hungry…”
    you volunteered at a soup kitchen,
    donated food to Saint Vincent de Paul, and
    lobbied for full funding of the nutrition program in the farm bill.
    “When I was thirsty…”
    you contributed to a fund for drilling wells in a developing country, and
    educated self and others on the dangers of contamination of the water supply
    from fracking.
    “When I was a stranger…”
    you came to understand that there is only US not WE and THEY;
    we are all sisters and brothers. What we have in common, our human nature,
    is far more basic than our differences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation
    or our theological, philosophical or political positions.
    And you worked for immigration reform.
    “When I was naked …”
    you simplified your life style, and
    boycotted stores and brands of clothing made in unsafe factories where workers
    are exploited and there is disreguard for the environment.
    “When I was ill…”
    you visited me in the hospital, and
    took meals to my family.
    “When I was in prison…”
    you spoke at a Barry Beach rally,
    wrote to the Board of Pardons and Parole, and
    mentored a woman at the Prerelease Center.
    “The truth is everytime you did this for my least sisters and brothers, you did it for me”

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