OpEdNews Op Eds

Sunday Homily: Is Liberation Theology Obsolete? Insights of the Enlightened Jesus

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Well Said 2   News 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 3/16/14

Become a Fan
  (25 fans)


(image by http://pinterest.com)

Readings for 2 nd Sunday of Lent: GN 12:1-4A; PS 33: 4-5, 18-19, 20, 22; 2 TM 1: 8B-10; MT 17: 1-9

Have you ever gone through a period when you profoundly question how you're spending your life? I'm thinking especially about suspicions that you might not be giving enough attention to your interior life -- to your enlightenment.

Today's gospel reading about Jesus' transfiguration before his friends on a mountaintop with Moses and Elijah raises the issue. Matthew's account presents a literally en-lightened Jesus.   He's suddenly filled with light. His face shines like the sun; his garments become white as snow. The story points towards enlightenment as the purpose of life with all other matters being secondary. . . .

Personally, Jesus' transfiguration makes me wonder about all the things I do that distract me from the pursuit of personal enlightenment -- from meditation, my mantra, and the other spiritual disciplines the Great Masters tell us are necessary to attain union with God..

I'll get back to that in a moment.

But let me contextualize my reflections by confessing my own recurring doubts about finding myself on mistaken path of activism. I mean lately I've been wondering if in my thinking, teaching and writing I'm too concerned with politics, economics, and issues of oppression and liberation -- too influenced, perhaps, by liberation theology. In fact, over the past six months those wonderings have been surfacing with renewed intensity.

I blame it on India.  

And why not? Four months spent in such an exotic atmosphere with its sea of people, intense traffic, dime-a-dozen gurus, wild auto-rickshaws, cows on the street, colorful temples, poverty, spicy food, and wonderfully kind people will raise questions about everything.  

On top of that there was yoga every day, past life review, learning prana yama (breath control), and living inter-generationally with my daughter, her husband and three children under five. All of that can cause one to question everything.

Above all, a ten day silent Vipassana retreat with its strict "noble silence," and 10 hours of meditation each day (100 hours in 10 days) will do the trick. So -- to repeat -- I find myself questioning everything, including all the things I've held important in life. I question what I've taught my students over my forty years in the college classroom -- you know, about economic systems, on the history of colonialism, liberation theology, and the development of the Jesus tradition.

By the way, I am back teaching again. (That's been my principal form of activism all my life.) And suddenly my life threatens to become very busy, involved, and outward-turned. Oh, right now it's not nearly the way it was when I was teaching full time. Currently I teach a two-hour class on Monday, and then I have a day off. Wednesdays there's another two-hour class followed by four days off. That's not so bad at all, I'm sure you agree. The point is, however, that teaching has me back on campus.

So a couple of weeks ago, one of the deans saw me there walking across Berea's quadrangle. He thought, "There's the man I've been looking for." And pretty soon he's asking me about directing and administering a prison project Berea's been asked to join." (It's the "Bard Prison Initiative" which offers college degrees to inmates.) The dean asked me if I'd be interested.

I said yes. And now I find myself recruiting Berea teachers to take part -- helping prisoners in the Northpoint Training Center/Prison in Danville Kentucky to obtain a Berea College degree. So I'm back organizing and attending meetings. True: it's a wonderful opportunity in so many ways. But it's filling up my plate which had become delightfully manageable after I retired from Berea College and stopped my teaching in Costa Rica.

What about meditation then, I wonder? What about the pursuit of enlightenment as (at my age) I'm increasingly aware that the moment of death getting closer and closer? Will new responsibilities distract me from such concerns?

Once again, my questions are intensified by what I learned about Jesus specifically in India. There people kept telling me that during his "hidden life" or "lost years," Jesus had spent time on the subcontinent. They said that between the ages of 12 and 30, Jesus traveled to India and studied under Buddhist masters who schooled him in the ways of Gautama who lived 500 years earlier.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Recently retired, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 36 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program.Mike blogs (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Sunday Homily: Pope Francis to Women: The Next Pope Should Be One of You!

"Cloud Atlas": A Film for the Ages (But perhaps not for ours)

The Case for and Intimate Relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene

What You Don't Know About Cuba Tells You About YOUR Future

Sunday Homily: Pope Francis' New Song -- Seven Things You May Have Missed in 'The Joy of the Gospel'

The Advent Project of Pope Francis (and Jesus): A World without War by Christmas! (Sunday Homily)

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
8 people are discussing this page, with 32 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

I find it tremendously hopeful and empowering that... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 5:00:03 AM
When you tune in to the Universal Spirit the 'int... by Paul Easton on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:24:59 AM
Yes, I agree, Paul. I've been reading Pope Francis... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 1:57:19 PM
Paul Easton's view that when you tune into the Un... by Suzana Megles on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 2:48:00 PM
Thanx Mike.  I personally had a hard time wh... by Suzana Megles on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 12:41:24 PM
Thank you, Suzana. I have to work on shortening th... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 1:50:54 PM
Wow - sorry but I gave Pope Francis - the female ... by Suzana Megles on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 2:51:29 PM
I wonder if Pope Francis would object. He seems t... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 5:18:02 PM
A lovely comment.  Thanx.  And now I wa... by Suzana Megles on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 6:46:05 PM
I agree with you, Suzana. And I intend to find the... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 7:50:10 PM
I am so glad that you are compassionate.  I ... by Suzana Megles on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 10:16:22 PM
Mike, I liked your article, but I'd like to point... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 3:11:00 PM
(Continued.) However, I disagree with the Christia... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 3:16:34 PM
(Continuation) Now, you also cited a work of Paul,... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 3:17:49 PM
Dear E.J.N., I don't know how to  respond. Y... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 5:29:09 PM
Mike, I appreciate that response. It's open-minde... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 7:08:57 PM
This is the best homily yet! (But I think I've sa... by Charles Roll on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 3:53:53 PM
"In the letter ['Earthly Desires Are Enlightenmen... by Charles Roll on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 3:59:43 PM
Charles: as usual, your comments are helpful and ... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 5:37:35 PM
I understand "earthly desires" as egocentric impu... by Charles Roll on Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 9:28:09 PM
If it werent for earthly desires we would soon be... by Paul Easton on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 3:24:37 AM
I couldnt say that my daily life is enlightenment... by Paul Easton on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 3:17:24 AM
Though an agnostic, I am inspired by the efforts o... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 5:48:35 AM
When you are seeking you tell yourself I have not ... by Philip Pease on Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 11:10:45 AM
Dear Philip,Your questions often occur to me as we... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 3:31:05 PM
Mike, when I read the following:"But let me conte... by Philip Pease on Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 10:14:25 AM
Mike and Philip, I believe it's not a coincidence... by E. J. N. on Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 4:05:28 PM
EJN,  This cyber cowboy does get out enough... by Michael Dewey on Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 4:19:36 PM
Its nice to have upper teeth plate for 300 euro. &... by Michael Dewey on Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 4:29:28 PM
Unenlightened action does more harm than good. If... by Paul Easton on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 3:33:12 AM
... by Paul Easton on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:40:20 AM
I agree that grace depends on works. When you do ... by Paul Easton on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:48:40 AM