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Hondurans "Crossing Over" into the United States Are Today's "Hebrews": They Are God's Chosen People!

By       Message Mike Rivage-Seul       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   7 comments, In Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

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Refugee Caravan
Refugee Caravan
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Readings for 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Jer. 31:7-9; Ps. 126: 1-6; Heb. 5:1-6; Mk. 10: 46-52

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Today's Gospel reading centralizes spiritual blindness and the nature of the cure Jesus offers. By extension, it provides perspective on the caravan of more than 6000 Central Americans (mostly Hondurans) currently approaching our southern border.

True: on the surface, the episode is simply about Jesus working yet another miracle -- this time for the sightless beggar called Bartimaeus. However, in reality the story represents two fundamental biblical paradigms -- one describes the true nature of conversion. The other identifies God's "Chosen People."

Let me unpack all of that.

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Begin by recalling the relevant story as written by Mark.

A blind man is sitting by the roadside. His garment is spread out on the ground before him. The cloak invites passers-by to throw a coin on its fabric. Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is near accompanied by a large crowd. So, he cries out, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!"

Jesus' followers try to shut the man up. But the beggar won't hear of it. He shouts even louder, "JESUS HAVE PITY ON ME!"

Finally, Jesus hears the blind man's voice over the crowd's din. He calls him over. The man jumps up and throws aside his garment (his only source of income). [In other words, unlike the Rich Young Man Mark presented two weeks ago (MK 10:17-30), this specifically poor man has no trouble renouncing everything he has and confronting the Master empty-handed.]

So, Jesus asks, "What would you have me do?"

The man responds, "I want to see!" Jesus replies, "Your faith has saved you." So, the blind man is given sight. He then follows Jesus "on the way" of non-violent compassion.

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Bartimaeus, then, is a model of conversion.

In performing this wonder, Jesus was acting as compassion itself. As a prophet, he was following in the footsteps of Jeremiah whose words we read in this morning's first reading. There Jeremiah was a spokesperson for a God announcing good news specifically to women, their children, the exiled, blind, and lame. As today's readings from the Book of Psalms recalls, that God makes such people's dreams come true, and turns their tears to laughter, not to guilt and shame.

And that brings me to the Honduran Caravan presently approaching our borders. They say that this caravan of more than 6000 people, mostly from Honduras, constitutes the largest mass exodus we've ever seen in this hemisphere.

When I say "Exodus," I'm choosing my words carefully. The word is loaded, as it recalls the key Jewish Testament paradigm I mentioned earlier. The word reminds us of the original "Exodus," when a motley horde of slaves stormed the borders of what we now call Palestine.

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Retired in 2014, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program.Mike blogs (more...)
 

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Mike Rivage-Seul

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If we think this particular Exodus is large, wait until the effects of climate change really kick in.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 28, 2018 at 10:00:02 AM

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Robert Gormley

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This world is becoming increasingly Godless and it is very

hard for the unsaved to see any hope in this world.The world

has very little to offer these days. With people like Trump leading division instead of unity we must focus on God.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 28, 2018 at 12:28:36 PM

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Mike Rivage-Seul

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Reply to Robert Gormley:   New Content

I very much agree, Robert. My point here is that we must focus on the specifically Biblical God whose first act in history was the liberation of slaves from Egypt. When I look at the photo at the top of this Sunday's posting, I can't help but think: That must have been what the ancient Israelites looked like as they left Egypt and sought refuge somewhere in God's Great Commons.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 28, 2018 at 2:05:35 PM

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Jimmy Silin

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Mike, love your Sunday homilies, but this nice old Jewish guy is a realist first, so I really must say that Central American "caravan" looks like the Exodus might well have looked--if the Exodus story was true. The Exodus reality would show only an empty road or an empty Sinai.


In the wake of the Pennsylvania pedophile priests revelations, you've brilliantly suggested yourself that perhaps God himself needs re-evalutation. I quite agree. I find that Yahweh, Allah, Lord Jehovah, is less like a God of liberation than He is of liberation's polar opposite. "The reason Scripture says so many terrible things is that Scripture's authors were pretty terrible people."

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 28, 2018 at 4:11:38 PM

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So many good thoughts in this brief comment. Thanks, Jimmy. I'm not sure the Exodus "really" happened either -- certainly not as described in the Book of Exodus. I also agree that the idea of God often presented in both the Jewish and Christian Testaments can be pretty awful. Yet, the preservation of remnant-traditions originating from the world's poor and oppressed is extremely valuable in a world where traditions are dominated by kings, emperors, generals, and presidents. I'm reluctant to overlook or dismiss the power and significance of a Slave-God.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 28, 2018 at 8:13:56 PM

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On the other hand, the Human yearning for political self-determination actually remains a manifestation of the divine within us--throughout. :-)


Submitted on Sunday, Oct 28, 2018 at 9:36:09 PM

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Amen!

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 12:30:39 AM

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