Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 23 Share on Twitter 2 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Life Arts    H2'ed 10/27/19

How We Rich Exclude Ourselves from the Kingdom of God

Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mike Rivage-Seul
Become a Fan
  (44 fans)


(Image by cheatsheet.com)   Details   DMCA
Readings for 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: SIR 35: 12-14, 11-18; PS 34: 2-3, 17-18, 19, 28; 2 TM 4: 6-8, 16-18; LK 18: 9-14.

"A pope and a pimp went into St. Peter's to Pray." That's the way scripture scholar, John Dominic Crossan, conveys the shock that must have been felt by Jesus' audience when he opened today's familiar gospel parable with the words "A pharisee and a tax collector went up to the temple to pray." Even joining the words "Pharisee" and "tax collector" in the same sentence was like putting "pope" and "pimp" together. It jars the ear. And why would a pimp be praying at all? Why would a tax collector?

Despite its shocking overtones, homilists generally domesticate this parable to make it reinforce conventional wisdom about pride and humility. The Pharisee was proud, they say. The tax collector was humble. Be like the tax collector.

Crossan however says that there's something much more challenging and fundamental going on in this parable. The focus of Jesus' story is not pride vs. humility. It's about rejecting the Pharisee's conventional morality. The parable even calls us to scrap conventional wisdom about pride and humility.

More positively, the story is a summons to enter God's Kingdom by identifying with the poor and despised who are celebrated throughout today's liturgy of the word. The parable and its supporting readings also explain why the conventionally good simply cannot enter the Kingdom of God, which in Jesus' understanding is never about life after death, but a this-worldly reality where God is king instead of Caesar.

Please give a listen to the readings. You can find them here. My "translations" run as follows:

SIR 35: 1-14, 16-18

God' justice reverses
The world's preferential option
For the rich.
It is instead
Duly prejudiced
In favor of
The poor, oppressed,
The orphan, and the widow.
God listens to them
And affirms
Their rights
To speedy justice.


PS 34: 2-3, 17-18, 19, 23

Yes, be thankful and glad
That God hears
The cry of the poor
The brokenhearted
And those whose spirits
Have been crushed
By oppressors
Whose names
Will soon
Be forgotten.

2 TM 4: 6-8, 16-18

The apostle Paul was
One of the oppressed.
He kept faith
In God's justice
Even during
His rigged
Imperial trial
When his friends
Abandoned him.
Though exhausted
Like a long-distance runner
Or a gladiator
Before a lion,
He nonetheless
Felt God's presence
As his source
Of strength and courage
Enabling him
To proclaim
God's Kingdom
To everyone.

2 COR 5:19

God's preferential
Option for the poor
Is the very message
Of Jesus, the Christ.
It can save the world.

LK 18: 9-14

Jesus' parable
Of the Pharisee and Tax Collector
Taught that
Self-justifying
Conventional morality
Is not pleasing to God -
Not even when supported
By long prayers,
Generous tithes,
Sexual purity,
And frequent fasting.
(Yes, the Pharisee
Did all of that!)
Instead,
Entrance into God's Kingdom
Requires nothing
But membership
In the group
Considered sinful
By us pharisees and
Our conventional morality.

To unpack those readings, first of all, think of the last one in terms of popes and pimps. Popes are generally respected people. They're religious leaders. Wherever they go, crowds flock around them just to get a glimpse, a blessing, or possibly even a smile or touch.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

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

Mike Rivage-Seul Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

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...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

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!

The Case for and Intimate Relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene

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

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

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'

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.

5 people are discussing this page, with 8 comments


Mike Rivage-Seul

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Apr 9, 2010), 44 fans, 273 articles, 954 comments, 3 diaries
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

As someone has said: "Identifying the Kingdom of God with heaven understood as life after death is one of the 10 worst ideas in history. I can't remember what the other 9 are."

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 10:00:09 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help

Marta Steele

Become a Fan (Member since Nov 1, 2007), 14 fans, 316 articles, 90 quicklinks, 734 comments, 44 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Yikes!!

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 12:31:19 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help

Lance Moore

Become a Fan
Author 91474
(Member since Jan 2, 2014), 6 fans, 5 articles, 70 comments
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Thank you for a fine and true-to-the-gospel article. May I humbly suggest you'd love my book, "Class Crucifixion," that among other things, shows how Republicans completely misconstrue and ignore Scripture... Scripture, and especially Jesus, sides with the poor and the oppressed, against the rich and powerful. You'd never know that listening to most right-wing "family values" politicians.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 8:38:36 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
Indent

Mike Rivage-Seul

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Apr 9, 2010), 44 fans, 273 articles, 954 comments, 3 diaries
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Lance Moore:   New Content

Thanks for that suggestion, Lance. I'll check out your book. Love the title. You're right: its thesis is totally consonant with what I say in the homily and with the theology of liberation in general. Thanks again.

Submitted on Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 9:08:57 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
Indent

Marta Steele

Become a Fan (Member since Nov 1, 2007), 14 fans, 316 articles, 90 quicklinks, 734 comments, 44 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Lance Moore:   New Content

That is a book that needed to be written! I hope that you sold many copies! Unfortunately, those who need to read it probably won't!

Submitted on Monday, Oct 28, 2019 at 4:42:44 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help

Michael Dewey

Become a Fan
Author 11470
Follow Me on Twitter (Member since Feb 15, 2008), 18 fans, 21 articles, 6 quicklinks, 3591 comments, 17 diaries
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linked In Page Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Today, we hear too many who go by his name take the words of "there always going to be poor among as legalistic stuff" we can do nothing about. Did I say that right?

As for "the kingdom" there is hard to be one while there is hell on earth. It's probably a lot like this life, but we turn on a TV station to cry over the people we left behind.

After just seeing the first Harry Potters now see up above like how the movie is filmed with freaky Twilight Zone Episodes mixed in at right time to correct some in a rat trap, like a Maverick Con.

We got to get over strict justice trash every time we turn on the TV. TV could start building a brotherhood of mankind almost overnight. My TV and phone are lucky phone is not thrown through TV daily.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 28, 2019 at 12:56:52 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
Indent

Mike Rivage-Seul

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Apr 9, 2010), 44 fans, 273 articles, 954 comments, 3 diaries
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Michael Dewey:   New Content

I know what you're saying, Michael. And that "poor always with you" trope is constantly used to justify the obscene gap between rich and poor. Actually, Jesus was referring to the social location of his community. In agreement with today's liturgical readings, that community is to be located precisely among the poor. That's why it should be true to say to genuine followers of Jesus, "The poor will always be with you."

Submitted on Monday, Oct 28, 2019 at 1:27:15 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
IndentIndent

Stan Crawford

Become a Fan
Author 511938
(Member since Aug 15, 2018), 2 fans, 262 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Mike Rivage-Seul:   New Content

The state has successfully fractured the "community," intent to control the masses. Next comes the injection of the RFID chip, first into the lower classes: click here

Then comes the rounding up of these undesirables and as Agenda 21 commences.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 28, 2019 at 10:46:11 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment