A July 4th Sunday Homily: “I Stood Up” (Inspired by Readings for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Door Kicks

Readings for 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: ZEC 9:9-10; PS 145: 1-2, 8-11, 13-14; ROM 8:9, 11-13; MT 11:25-30; http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070614.cfm

Two weeks ago
Between innings
Of a Cubs-Pirates game
At Wrigley Field,
They celebrated a Marine from Iraq –
A local boy
Who emerged from the Cubs’ dugout
To a hero’s welcome
From a crowd on its feet
Between swigs of PBR
As if the poor kid had hit
A game-winning dinger.

Reluctantly I stood up with the rest.

I now regret my applause.
I should have remembered shaved-headed
Brain-washed innocents
Kicking in front doors
Petrifying children
Calling their parents “mother f_ _kers”
And binding tender wrists
With plastic handcuffs.
To rid the world of evil.

Pitiful brainwashed innocents,
They are
Driven to war by poverty
And debt
To Haditha, Fallujah, Abu Grahib,
To weddings transformed in a flash and bang
Into funerals
Leaving mourners shocked and awed –
Collateral Murder,”
By what King called
“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world”
And what the Sandinista hymn identified as
“The enemy of mankind.”

I should have remembered
Iraq (and Afghanistan btw)
Were wars of choice,
Of aggression,
The supreme international crime.”

Why did I not recall Zechariah?
(And here come my references to the readings for this Sunday)
And the peace-making Messiah
Christians claim he prophesied.
The prophet’s Promised One would be
Gentle and meek
Riding an ass
Rather than a war horse
Or Humvee
And banishing chariots, cross-bows
And drones raining hell-fire
From the skies.
His kingdom disarmed
Would encompass the entire world.
Refusing to call
Any of God’s “little ones”
(To use our military’s terms of art)
Rag-heads” or “Sand ni_ ggers

Paul called such imperial hate-speech “flesh.”
(Judging by appearances like skin color, nationality, religion)
“Live according to Christ’s Spirit,” Paul urged.
(Compassion for all, works of mercy)
No room for door-kickers there.

I should have remembered Jesus
And his yoke.
So good and light
He said
Compared with
The heavy burdens
The Roman War-makers
Laid on their subjects
Who kicked in Nazareth’s doors
And called parents like Joseph and Mary
“Mother f_cking Jews.”

Their imperial generals were “learned” and “wise”
In the ways of the world
But they piled crushing burdens
On the shoulders
Of those “little ones”
Jesus preferred –
In places far from the imperial center
Like Palestine (or Iraq today).
Victims there might be out of sight
And mind
For those enjoying bread, circuses
Cubs and Pirates,
But not for the All Parent
Described by the Psalmist today
As gracious, merciful, slow to anger, hugely kind, benevolent to all, compassionate, faithful, holy, and lifting up (rather than crushing) those who have fallen under the weight of the burdens Jesus decries.

I should have asked,
If following that Messiah
If worshipping that All Parent
Allowed standing and applauding
A robot returned
From a war
Where over a million civilians have been slaughtered
To rid the world of violence.
(In 1942 would I have joined the crowd
Applauding an S.S. “hero” in a Munich stadium
Just back from the front –or Auschwitz?
Or a pilot who had bombed Pearl Harbor
At a “Wrigley Field” in Tokyo?)

No: I should have had the courage
To remain seated.
And so should we all
Instead of
• Celebrating the military
• Waving flags on the 4th of July
• Paying war taxes
• And wondering with Fox newscasters
What makes America great?

Published by

Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

6 thoughts on “A July 4th Sunday Homily: “I Stood Up” (Inspired by Readings for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time)”

  1. OMG! WOW! Holy Shit! Don’t need a thesaurus for this, Mike!

    You really nailed this. Thank you. You have accurately articulated everything about our disastrous decades-long foreign policy, hegemony, cruelty of our once proud (self-proclaimed Christian) nation. You didn’t ‘fudge’ your words or use safe euphemisms. You let it all hang out. You have named the ugliness, the sheer madness, for what it is.

    To complete this picture, Mike, you need to address the Israeli government’s ever-escalating illegal occupation and persecution of the Palestinian people. There is no denying the corollary here. For years, we have contributed to that evil by our tax-funded financial support and by refusing to call these actions what they are: genocide. We turned our backs on and deadened our ears to the voices in the genocide of our Native Americans, the Armenians, the Nazi roundup and extermination of Europe’s Jews in the 30s and 40s, the Chinese, the Cambodians, the Serbs and Croats. When does it end?
    When will we, as a nation, stand up and say ‘enough is enough.’

    One cannot overlook the appalling irony that it is the Jewish nation that is satisfying its blood lust by their actions against a co-indigenous people. All of this has been perpetrated in the name of the American citizens through the actions of a Congress that is morally and legally required to represent us — all of us. Instead, they fill their pockets with the blood money of paid lobbyists. They are bringing our nation — and the world — to the brink of annihilation.


    1. Thanks, Alice. I agree with you about Israel-Palestine. Such irony there. And I haven’t heard from Cash for a while either — though I know he’s off in Ireland and probably super-busy visiting relatives and friends.


  2. An excellent piece Mike with wonderful clarity and Alice struck the nail on the head..
    We know the GI kid is not to blame and knows no better until the night, when the buss of the battle fades and he is alone with himself in his bed, and the tomorrows leave his short life to pain and desperation – disregarded. All to sell a few sticks of “chewing gum”.
    Here in the Failed State of Ireland thanks to IMF I am taken up with the gods graves and scholars of home. The irony of our life is all here in the Fairy Ring ploughed around but never wounded, in the center of the green rich fields of Cork.
    I keep asking myself when I read such articles, what can we do about it, other than spreading the word.
    I still feel the only answer is in the Remnant of Christianity. A pope who will contemn/admit to the crimes we perpetrated thru history. Even good nuns are now on the altar for sacrifice here. They done it!
    Our fall into support of Empire after empire after Establishment.The isolation and sacrifice of the poor for material loot, power seeking and the principle of spurious dogma protection before all else. We need a church that does not panderer to puppets, presidents o- war mongers from afar and on high.
    Is is all so easy if our present popes had not so many irons in the fires of expediency.
    They simply Lie!
    Preserving image and power and assets over all else.
    We all recognise “shapes”. This one will be different!
    It just wont work. Hedging has got to stop and honesty to the fore – and if they don’t know what that is then ask the dogs on the street. They know well were to find them.
    We need total restructure not paint jobs.
    Renewal is reinvestment.
    A Change of Portfolio.
    The Flash Boys.
    Our children will need to take the other option on the table.
    The Bangladesh Syndrome.
    Or Fukushima Option!
    Or The Rude Awakening.
    To hell with it.
    I’m off to see the Thorn Tree that grows beyond Clogheen


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