The Social Shape of Divine Generosity (Luke 12:32-40)

The Xaverian Missionaries have a mission center in Franklin, Wisconsin, close to the Sikh Temple. We help others get involved in our mission in twenty countries worldwide. If you would like more information, please call Fr. Mark Marangone at 414-421-0831.

It all sounds so… demanding. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. “Be dressed for action” (NRSV). Imagine yourselves as slaves who remain ready for their master’s return – not knowing when it might come

Luke’s Gospel is big on demanding. In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus encounters three would-be disciples. Each receives a warning that would vanquish enthusiasm like an ice-cold shower. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” “Let the dead bury their own dead.” “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Intensely demanding.

Is that how God’s Kingdom works? Does it reward only the religious superstars? Does God’s realm function like a super-competitive law firm, where only a tiny percentage ever make partner and all the rest get fired?

A year ago on August 5, a white supremacist shot ten people who were preparing for services at Oak Creek, Wisconsin’s Sikh temple. Six of the victims died, as did a police officer who responded to the shooting. The temple president grabbed a butter knife and attacked the shooter, sacrificing his own life to provide time for others to find shelter. In the end, the shooter took his own life.

The tragedy revealed a lot about who counts and who doesn’t in the United States. Because I teach religion for a living, several friends asked me, “What is a Sikh?” They’d never found it important to learn. I have to admit, I exhausted my own expertise in about ninety seconds. We learn about what and who we value, don’t we? MORE>>>

by Greg Carey

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