Applying Week Two

Homily (Sermon) for July 7, 2019 (Roman Catholic Readings for the day)
Readings:
Isaiah 66:10-14c […as a mother comforts her child]
Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 [I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky…rejoice because your names are writt3en in heaven]
“…do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written I heaven.” Right! And, we might well ask, where else are our names written in this digital age?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn? Oh, you don’t do social media! Do you search on google, do you use email, you have and/or read blogs, have you bought anything on line with Amazon prime, Amazon Smile, do you keep abreast of the Daylesford Abbey website, the NYTimes Cooking blog ? If so, your name is written everywhere forever.
We all have digital identities. Indeed, we have many. One person’s Buttigieg tweets might well give others a different idea of her than her Richard Rohr daily meditation site or her google searches.
And it’s true for God too. Unfortunately for God, the Creator, Rescuer and Covenant identities got lost in the Satan-inspired and fake judge – blame – condemn website that took over the religious culture of Jesus’ time and is still, sadly, operative among Christians of all varieties.
If you get the picture I’m trying to paint then you can understand better why in today’s gospel Jesus has a vision of Satan falling like lightning from the sky. In terms of this homily, Jesus has hacked the hacker and disconnected his Wi-Fi. The seventy disciples sent by Jesus went to heal and bring the peace of God in the face of the sick, diseased and deeply anxious women and men beset with the Satan-the-hacker’s idea that their suffering was a sign of their disconnect from God, that God was punishing them for some wrong doing conscious or unconscious.
The disciples’ message of peace and healing without cost released people – and us – from ever thinking that earthquakes, the death of children, the onset of cancer or any other affliction is caused by God, much less be a punishment for sin. That’s the Hacker’s judge / blame / condemn fake news image of God.
But, from the beginning and for centuries, God was self-identifying as loving Creator and Rescuer, Protector and, in today’s reading from Isaiah, nurturing Mother. This prophetic image came in a time when God’s People were becoming discouraged and giving up on the rebuilding of Jerusalem after seventy years of exile. But we’re all rebuilding: the world, the nation, our university/college, our family, ourselves.
The prophet was calling them and now us to get to know and believe and act out of God’s authentic identity. The paradox is that God can’t be known and authentically identified except through God’s creatures — how we act from what we say we believe. This is why God’s clearest identity is seen in Jesus Christ who sends us to be disciples of peace and healing.
So, to return to the beginning and to stretch a point, just as our budgets reveal our values, so our daily words and deeds and even our digital identities (if fully known, God forbid!) speak to us and to others about the identity of God.
Beware of hackers, beware of the big hacker falling like lightning from the sky!

(2) Comments

  1. Reid Riggle

    Fantastic! This is an impactful message, Andrew. I deeply appreciate your capacity to connect the realities of our contemporary world, including the concept of digital identity, to God’s message.

  2. Shan Bryan-Hanson

    Love the creativity of this blog format and how it so directly connects with who you are as a person, as well as your work.

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