Gospel Woman Speaks for “misfits” outside traditional religious boundaries

Gospel Woman Challenges Jesus
“But look,” Gospel Woman Calls Jesus to Re-think his Mission:  Painting by Consilia Karli

 

“…even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters” she said to Jesus when he protested against her plea for her daughter’s healing. (Mt 15:27)

So says the foreign woman who insisted against all odds that Jesus heal her daughter...”  (Matthew Chap 7: 21-28 and Mark Chap 7: 24-30)

Jesus, by right of Jewish law, Scripture, AND tradition, ignored this pagan Canaanite woman’s plea for his attention.

He ignored her because she did not fit into the the cultural and religious paradigm of salvation which formed his mind and conscience. She was NOT only a woman but a foreign-born, Gentile woman…challenging the man who saw himself as messiah of the Jewish people.

What moxie, what strength of character, what nerve she had!

It is no wonder Jesus’ disciples were irritated by her, as they came and asked Jesus, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” (Mt 7:23)

But she persisted and INSISTED. And thus Jesus addressed her explaining, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)

It took a woman, a foreigner, a pagan woman to see Jesus beyond the confines of his own imagination. He wasn’t going to heal her daughter of the demon which plagued her, no matter how she cried out. It wasn’t His Father’s Will, as far as he could see. She was just a foreign pagan woman. What did she know of his mission as Messiah to the Children of God?

But she persisted and INSISTED. What moxie, what strength of character, what nerve she had!

She would NOT be dismissed. She would NOT give up her desire to be part of the inclusive love of God Jesus was proclaiming. Nor would she give up her faith in him as the one who loves large.

Jesus almost listened to his friends and followers. But something made him stop. His compassion for her? …perhaps.

He engages her… at first explaining why he couldn’t help her… God’s will…his mission was at stake…the children of Israel were his only concern. “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs” he explained in a moment of cognitive dissonance. (Mk 7:27)

Yet she stood her ground and reminded him,”…even the dogs eat the crumbs from the table where the children eat.” The crumbs…yes, the crumbs… Jesus must have pondered her response to the moral dilemma she presented to him:

“Crumbs for the dogs under the table? Is it possible?
A place for the outsider at the table of the children of God?
… even if only under the table?”

Unbeknownst to her, this foreign, pagan woman asked for nothing less than a quantum leap in Jesus’ understanding of his broader mission to the world. Then suddenly the moral dilemma resolves itself in Jesus’ mind:

“When she replied and said to him, ‘Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.; Then Jesus said to her in reply, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed from that hour. 
(Mark 7: 28 and Matthew 15: 28)

This foreign woman’s faith in God’s Love…her faith in her worth as a person in God’s eyes…and her faith in Jesus and his preaching…THIS faith is what brought Jesus to a moral dilemma in conflict with his Jewish tradition.

This moral dilemma called forth a choice, on Jesus part, between a strict interpretation of tradition and a quantum leap in theological consciousness of how tradition is to be interpreted in his time. It required a quantum leap in Jesus’ understanding of who God is and what God wants…in his historical time and culture.*

Isn’t this the leap in consciousness that we need today in order to re-vision the theology that forms the basis of all doctrine, governance and liturgy in our Church?

Isn’t this the very sense of a living tradition that Vatican II continues to call forth from Christianity and Catholicism today?

*    *   *.  *.  *.  *

NOTE: Some assume that Jesus knew it all and needed no development of conscience or consciousness, but that would be heresy in regard to Jesus’ full embrace of humanity as defined in the doctrine of the Incarnation.  More to come…

God’s Holy Refugees, Driven by the Search for Real

What of the Religious Refugees… fleeing theologies
… theologies that clang against the consciousness
 of this age’s sins and (w)holy wisdom?

To the Nones and Dones and those most nearly done,
the silence of the Holy One is deafeningly loud
…in theologies describing 
 a god so praise-starved and power-hungry
…that it demands our constant adulation and servile obedience
…in theologies describing an all knowing Big Father/Brother in the sky
 speaking scriptural words of love between the narcissistic lines.

What consciousness is this…
that drives us from the comfort of a sacred family
…wrapped in the solace of sweet hymns and select scriptures
so we not see and question those Words and stories
…strewn with images of such an ignoble and inglorious God?

Bereft of temple, church, synagogue or mosque,
where do we go to find a home?
Or is there even such a place?

Religious refugees driven far from safe homes we knew so long ago,
…the hymns we sang, the Scripture read, so comforting,
now crash as awkward phrases against what we “Now Know”.
“Now Know” not so stately as the holy architecture of theologies 
so long held bosom-close for comfort.

O Saints before us, who lost your faith in such Go(o)d nonsense…
Is there not something…anything, 
 other than the loss we know today?

Or is all search for the comfort of meaning and certainty 
 a useless Sisyphus task of rolling boulder uphill 
 …until it rolls back crushing us
…worn weak and weary in the futility of it all?

We go down into the pit of despair
…
 with you, O Saints who went there before us.
We have still the wisdom of your love and your courage
 to live in the not knowing,
…in the shatter-scatter pace of life’s ever-changing face 
 that re-assembles its appearance from
 …horror to grief to love and back again
…in cycles too quick to ponder or assimilate,
 …sometimes barraged in unremitting painful questions:
Why them? Why me? 
 …Why even ask why?

We refugees of theologies 
that answer questions of the past
 with answers from the further past..
 …some wisdom there buried
 under all the dust and shite, for certain.

Yet there is this tingling sense that
 wisdom buried under ages having passed, 
 yet still is with us now

for every change of time from one epoch to another
 had its pain of cracking through, 
 like a babe breaking out its mother’s womb
all tender and powerless, 
 …in need of succor and protection, 
 so like our new consciousness adapting…to its new place and time.

Let us have faith meanwhile, in each other,
 …in the everyday uncanonized saints of today and yesterday.
Not idolatrous faith, of course,
 but rather faith that nurtures love as it re-news life,
…as it makes life NEW again…
 Creation ongoing, ever-challenging us
…to go on loving…as best we can.

WHERE is the theology that can lead us
…in the way of this ever-adapting gypsy-like home-making faith?
WHERE is the theology sustaining
…a dynamic back-and-forth movement
 between the wisdom of the past
…and the present moment
…now challenging our consciousness 
 …to RISE UP and BE COUNTED.
*    *    *

Painting “God’s Holy Refugees” by Consilia Karli, SFCC

Poem by Sister Lea, SFCC with Consilia Karli
https://RiteBeyondRome.com

 

 

 

 

 

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A Church in Disconnect and Denial

“I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.”

Here Emily Dickinson describes a certain unrecognized group of alienated Catholics, not those who have left the Church or stopped going to Mass, but those ministers, clergy and lay (including religious) who tote their unbelieving minds and weakened hearts to Mass or class, doing their utmost to convince others to believe what they themselves seriously question.

Ignoring the cognitive dissonance between what they teach/preach as “updated Catholicism,”  these theological and ministerial “heroes/heroines” are part of the class of Emily Dickenson’s “nobodies”, fearful of being banished if ever they should come out of the doctrinaire closet into which Catholicism has been stuffed of late.

Even good Pope Francis struggles to open the doors of that closet with his key of Mercy. But mercy is only about closing a blind eye to doctrine when what is needed is a thorough transvaluation of doctrine…A core re-working of doctrine made using an updated standard, one evolved from a raised consciousness of  humanity and its relationship to all other/Other.

Given the modern raised consciousness toward women, GLBT and other issues; the cognitive dissonance between what is preached and what is so otherwise self-evident is too great a disconnect for many. Catholicism, as it represents itself today, is a religion in denial, scratching its head while looking about blindly for explanations why previously highly-dedicated Catholics (clergy, lay and religious) have walked away along with the young who find no meaning in its closeted vaults.

Without a doubt, the Catholic Church as an institution will perpetuate itself. The question is, however: will that “smaller, purer” version of Catholicism be the “salt of the earth” which Jesus envisioned and which so many of us have tasted before and after the Second Vatican Council?

This matter does not have to remain so bleak as it appears. There are viable options, if we care/dare even to think about them, let alone discuss them.

Food for discussion: A Vatican II Rite Makes Sense for the Universal Catholic Church   (Whistle a happy tune while it loads!)