June 26, 2019
Today’s readings, as usual, are powerful and easy to understand. Today’s readings are also very personal and speak to our baptized vocation in Christ.
Notice the very beautiful sentiment in today’s First Reading: “as a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” This is God our Father/Mother talking to you and me – we are God’s children! Something we should really really celebrate! The Responsorial Psalm answers for us: make your joyful noise to God.
The Gospel appoints and commissions all the baptized to spread Christ’s Word. We need trust and hope to carry out this Gospel call. Note the great success of the seventy on their return (near the end of the longer Gospel for the day. This will be our success too if we carry out Christ’s commission! Lastly, note the Gospel reference to snakes and scorpions: some literalist Christians in the past and even today handle snakes and scorpions because they believe Christ will protect them from danger and see here a divine promise of safety: for me, this activity demeans the Gospel.
In every Eucharist, the Risen Lord Jesus appoints you and me and every Catholic and sends us to harvest the world for Him and sends us ahead of His coming; in this context see our Sunday Mass Creed where we tell God that we are willing to go and undertake this commission. In this way, we incarnate the Risen One to the world. Our experience here is like that of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at last, He will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25).
The above reflections lead us to a very very important topic and that is how we speak about GOD.
Strictly speaking, only the original text in Greek and Hebrew in the Bible is inspired! We should revere the translations into other languages like English but they are not strictly inspired as the original text is. So look at all the different versions of the Bible in English (most are excellent translations) but none of them is as important as the original text. Thus the English text can be changed for good reasons.
ook at all the English texts (most of them) that use the pronouns “He,” “Him” and “His” for God: strictly, they are not inspired. (We certainly can use these pronouns for Christ because He did become a man for us). Too many Christians/Catholics today have made God male and so we see God as a kind of a Big Male Being; no wonder then that many women leave the Church over this because they feel excluded. There is no need or point to make God masculine! This is a sign of patriarchy and male preponderance in the Church’s leaders (ordained and non-ordained). I personally become irritated when I see males using male language for God because making God male hurts and excludes so many women. Thank God Rome is using more and more women for Vatican positions; this is at the instigation of Pope Francis. Thank God also that many Catholics substitute the word “God” (or “God’s”) when they use or proclaim the (English) translations of the Bible. God is beyond the male-female distinction: so do not speak of God in male terms! Today’s prayer over the offerings at Mass asks God to purify us: may God purify us of all male references to God.
Here is an example of how easy it is to do this. Today’s scriptural Communion Antiphon (the first one) is “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed the man who seeks refuge in him.” It is very easy to change this to “Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed the man/woman who seeks refuge in God.” Nothing jolting in this change and it is easy and simple to do. So please do this kind of thing. Pope Francis is today rebuilding the Church; let us help with this and one area where all of us can help him is to be careful with our language about God. God bless you!