OpEdNews Op Eds

(Sunday Homily) The Ayatollah Was Right: the U.S. IS the Great Shaytan!

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

Must Read 3   Valuable 3   Well Said 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 8/31/14

Become a Fan
  (30 fans)
- Advertisement -

(image by onkwehonwerising.wordpress.com)   DMCA

During the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, the West became aware of Muslims' profound mistrust of the United States. The Ayatollah Khomeini repeatedly referred to "America" as "the Great Satan." Today's liturgy of the word calls us to be counter-cultural by suggesting that the Ayatollah's reference was spot on. The United States is indeed the Great Satan leading the world astray with its beliefs for instance that limitless wealth brings happiness, that bombing can be a humanitarian act, and that "fearing for our lives" justifies killing others.

As we'll see in today's readings, such beliefs are 'satanic" both in the eyes of Jesus and of the Great Prophet Mohammed. In the United States, their infernal results are on display in each morning's headlines where:

* The rich and famous end their lives in despair

* The U.S. bombs and drones to save the Yazidis in Iraq (or Libyans in Libya, Afghans in Afghanistan, Ethiopians in Ethiopia . . .)

* Police killings are uniformly justified by the claim "I feared for my life."

I raise the issue because the term "Satan" is prominent in today's gospel reading. There Jesus uses it in contrast to his own beliefs about life's divine purpose which turns out to be incompatible with dominant western beliefs. According to both Jesus and Mohammed, life's purpose is not to accumulate riches. Nor is life rendered meaningful by killing others even to save one's friends. Neither do Jesus' followers have the mandate to protect their own lives at any cost. Quite the opposite!

- Advertisement -

What is life about then? Consider Jesus' answer in this morning's gospel reading.

There Jesus uses the epithet "Satan" to refer to the leader of his inner circle of twelve. In Jesus' eyes, Peter merits the name because he misunderstands what life is for. That's shown by the fisherman's efforts to dissuade the Master from following his divine "prophetic script." For Jesus, that pattern would require him to lose his life for speaking truth to power. As we'll see, using such speech in an effort to change the world -- to bring on God's Kingdom -- turns out to be central to Jesus' understanding of life's purpose.

In any case, like the prophet Jeremiah in today's first reading, God's spirit has put Jesus out of control. So, like Jeremiah, he feels compelled by an inner fire to speak the truth, whatever its cost. As the earlier prophet had put it, God's truth "becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary of holding it in; I cannot endure it."

So in today's reading Jesus "began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests and the scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Peter objects. "God forbid! This will never happen to you," he says.

- Advertisement -

It's then that Jesus replies: "Get behind me, Satan. You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

Hearing those words, most of us inevitably connect with images right out of Dante's Divina Comedia -- enhanced by subsequent satanic glosses to include a fire-red body, horns, cloven hooves, tail and pitchfork. But that wasn't the image in Jesus' mind.

Instead, Jesus was thinking in terms of the Hebrew tradition. There Satan was a member of God's heavenly court. He was God's prosecuting attorney who typically raised questions that Yahweh's overwhelming goodness and generosity might otherwise obscure.

In Jewish tradition, Satan was a realist who believed that faith and prosperity go together. Take away prosperity and goodness and faith will disappear too.

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
Google Content Matches:
- Advertisement -

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'

Muhammad as Liberationist Prophet (Pt. 2 of 4 on Islam as Liberation Theology)


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  
7 people are discussing this page, with 10 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

The words of the psalmist quoted in today's homily... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 6:00:05 AM
Great interesting thoughts, thanks. ... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 at 5:17:34 AM
I think you forgot to give the readings! ... by Michael David Morrissey on Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 7:31:36 AM
I did forget, Michael. Sorry. Here they are: http:... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 10:37:42 AM
I had a dream in which I was fighting in a war. I... by Philip Pease on Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 8:40:01 AM
Philip: This morning, when I heard the readings in... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 10:43:24 AM
ISIS is the next false flag in the US. That dosent... by Catherine McCoy on Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 3:55:10 PM
Well, I wouldn't say the Ayatollah was right, but ... by E. J. N. on Monday, Sep 1, 2014 at 6:04:10 PM
Are we really using drones in Ethiopia? That woul... by Michael Dewey on Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014 at 6:24:35 AM
So he viewed "America" as what Muslims call "Shayt... by Michael Dewey on Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014 at 6:26:43 AM