Peace of Mount Everest?

November 27, 2016, First Sunday of Advent, Cycle A

The Temple Mount of 750 meters height never was the highest mountain, not even in its closest environment. However, the prophet Isaiah still “sees” it topping the other mountains.

Not in a geographical way, but in attracting humans from all peoples. They meet there to resolve their disputes and to forge tools for crafting from their weapons and war materials. While the conflict of the Temple Mount is not resolved, the message remains: “For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem”. That could be the disruptive part. Jerusalem as the city of peace goes down in history as a challenge of at least 3000 years. mim

Is 2:1-5

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come, The mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!

He can't save himself?

November 20, 2016; Christ the King, Cycle C

Luke describes how Jesus on the cross is scoffed in concentric circles from the outside to the inside: He can't save himself – in other words, he certainly cannot save others.

The waves of mockery are suddenly broken by the second co-convict. He thinks that Jesus is capable of everything, but he doesn't ask for help, but for the kingdom of God to come. His request and Jesus' reply obviously match: Jesus coming into his kingdom and being with him in Paradise. That way, “when” turns to “this very day”! That way, the domain of the “King of the Jews” grows, unseen by the audience, with the cross in its centre. tac

Lk 23:35-43

The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Rejoicing in the law?

November 6, 2016, 32nd Sunday in ordinary time, Cycle C

It is easy to become patriotic with black-red-golden car flags during the FIFA World Cup.

The Germans have much more difficulty to endorse the idea of a “constitutional patriotism”, a way of being proud of the constitution that was developed in the post-war era. It is not that easy to love paragraphs and terms. The Jewish people serve as a paragon for that, celebrating the Torah each year during Simchat Tora – a feast solely to rejoice in the law. The dramatic story of the seven brothers and their mother tells of law-abidance and confidence in having a undetachable life with God. What allays the mortal fears, is the certainty of having found the best thing on earth, a life with Him. A life according to the social order of God for his people. acb

2 Mc 7:1-2, 9-14

It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king, to force them to eat pork in violation of God's law. One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said: “What do you expect to achieve by questioning us? We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.” When the first brother had died in this manner, they brought the second to be made sport of. At the point of death he said: “You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever. It is for his laws that we are dying.” After him the third suffered their cruel sport. He put out his tongue at once when told to do so, and bravely held out his hands, as he spoke these noble words: “It was from Heaven that I received these; for the sake of his laws I disdain them; from him I hope to receive them again.” Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man's courage, because he regarded his sufferings as nothing. After he had died, they tortured and maltreated the fourth brother in the same way. When he was near death, he said, “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the God-given hope of being restored to life by him; but for you, there will be no resurrection to life.”

Pure optimism

October 30, 2016, 31st Sunday in ordinary time, Cycle C

During the years before the birth of Jesus, space shuttles, the mere infinite space and the galaxies were completely unknown. Or were they?

How is it then that a smart writer in Israel had the idea to compare “the whole world” with “dust on a scale”, a “dew drop ... in the morning” decades before Jesus? The ancestors of our faith have not been naive, indeed. They were global players without airports, more sophisticated than a lot of today's jetsetters are. Why? Because they did know more than just midget earth being lost in space: that tiny star is involved in a love story. “You love everything that is”, says the book of wisdom. The believer knows the “friend of life”. Pure optimism. bek

Wis 11:22-12, 2

Indeed, before you the whole universe is as a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth. But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook the sins of men that they may repent. For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things, because they are yours, O LORD and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things! Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them, and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!

New views

Oktober 23, 2016, 30th sunday in ordinary time, Cycle C

Two wise men off to see the world. One compares, conceited, wordy, dismissive: and he is sure of being met with approval.

The other one knows about his distance to God's will and begs to bridge that distance. The narrator of this parable shows the self-righteous ones their own alienation from God. That way, he reveals to them the insight on a different kind of forsakenness – similar to the character of the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son. Only this way the community of recovered lost ones becomes possible. hak

Lk 18:9-14

He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity - greedy, dishonest, adulterous – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”