Readings for 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Habakkuk 1: 2-3; 2:2-4; Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-7, 8-9; 2 Timothy 1: 6-8, 13-14; Luke 17: 5-10
This Sunday’s readings address the question of unanswered prayers and the frustration of those who look for evidence of God’s presence in the world but find none.
With that query hanging in the air, here are my “translations” of this week’s selections They represent a prayerful dialog between frustrated believers (like most of us) on the one hand and the Being some still call “God” on the other – with Yeshua’s own example and insight added at the end.
Please check out the actual texts here to see if I got the translations right. I’ll conclude with a few reflections of my own.
1. Our Prayer Habakkuk 1: 2-3; 2:2-4 I’ve been praying Dear Mother, For your Queen's Reign to come, For violence to cease For relief from our misery. Yet you seem deaf To my pleas. After all, Wars continue Violence increases Everyone’s at Each other’s throat. What should I think? 2. God’s Response Only this: (And write it in stone!) My timetable, My order Is vastly different From yours. What’s invisible, What seems delay to you Is always And perfectly timely for me. So, be patient Keep your commitment To my just order. My answer to prayer Is never late. It is omnipresent. 3. Our Reply Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-7, 8-9 I have heard your response, Holy Mother. I’m thankful and happy For the reminder. Your words Are solid as rock. It’s true: You know far more Than us. You have never Let us down. I will therefore not ever Lose faith Against your Proven fidelity. 4. Light from Yeshua 2 Timothy 1: 6-8, 13-14 Such words of response Are wise. They are the expression Of a Holy Spirit, Within us all. It can set The world ablaze With love. It is courageous And disciplined, It expresses the Strength of God. It enables us To endure even prison And hardships Of all kinds. It is the very Spirit Of Yeshua, the Christ. Luke 17: 5-10 When Yeshua’s followers Prayed for stronger faith, He reminded them That even a little bit Can change Expectations profoundly. Never forget, he said, That you are not in charge; Love is. You are only Love’s servants. God is not Your errand boy Beholden to Culturally-shaped Plans and needs.
My Own Reflections
With those readings in mind, i.e., when we allow the words of the Divine Mother to open our eyes and ears, when we listen to the prophets (her spokespersons), we see concrete manifestations of Goddess presence and siding with the poor everywhere. Right now, they’re evident, I think, in at least three areas, viz., in:
- Nature Itself: Regardless of human efforts to obscure and deny the divine, its presence calls constantly to us in events so close to us and taken-for-granted that they’ve become invisible. I’m thinking about the sun, the ocean, trees, the moon, stars, wildflowers – and our own bodies whose intelligence performs unbelievable feats each moment of our lives.
- Liberation Theology: This rediscovery of God’s preferential option for the poor has changed and is changing the world. One cannot explain the pink tide that swept Latin America during the 1970s, ‘80s, and 90s – not Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, Venezuela – without highlighting the inspiration provided by liberation theology. Neither can one explain the rebellion of the Muslim world against western imperialism without confronting Islam’s inherent liberating drive – again on behalf of the disenfranchised, impoverished, and imperialized.
- Contemporary Social Movements: Think Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the Sunrise Movement, Yellow Vests, Standing Rock, the Green New Deal, and prophetic figures like (once again) Greta Thunberg, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, and Pope Francis with his landmark climate encyclical Laudato si’. All these movements and figures stand on the side of the poor and are having their effect.
Martin Luther King once famously said that the moral arc of the universe is long, but that it bends towards justice. “Justice” in his vocabulary meant overcoming the laws and social structures crafted by the rich and powerful to keep the poor in their place. King (and Malcolm as well) was a practitioner of African American liberation theology. As such, he was gifted with eyes to see differently — to see the Judeo-Christian tradition as revealing a God on the side of the poor.
That’s what our Sunday liturgies of the word reveal consistently. This week is no exception. It invites us simply to open our eyes.