Homily December 23, 2018

Notes for Homily for Sunday December 23, 2018 – IV Advent C

· Bible “for negro slaves of the British Western Indies” (1808)

Exodus 1-19 are missing, the Book of Exodus starts with the Ten Commandments:

but the commandments are guidelines on how to keep yourself free!!

· The Magnificat might have been missing too; it was prohibited to read it aloud or to display it in public during the military rule in Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America

· How different would it be the trite polemic about verses of the Bible exposed to public view, for example in a State Capitol, if the words where that of the Magnificat…

· Make no mistake, Mary is preaching the Great Reversal before Jesus! Anytime you are told that the Bible is not political, ask people read the Magnificat.

· But WHAT is the politics of the Bible? Is about God coming to begin processes of freedom.

We all know the failures of revolutions, with the oppressed becoming the new masters…

We all know the arrogance, from all political parties, of those who know best and have God on their side at all times.

· Is GOD coming to bring freedom to us today? If not, it’s not God. Not the God of Mary, or the God of Jesus, the new Moses. If religion does not bring your freedom, some enlargement of your horizons, please toss it away.

· I cannot tell you how God/religion is bringing freedom to you today. We may look together for WHERE right now God is active in initiating processes of freedom.

· But I am more interested in HOW God brings salvation, that is, liberation, into the world. If we read our Gospel story carefully, it is simply about two pregnant women who meet each other. You can almost feel their embrace and their bellies touching. One of woman feels her baby leap in her womb and she sees it as a sign. There is NOTHING ELSE in the story. Everything else is about what these two say to each other, about their understanding of the events of their lives, about themselves feeling like “nobodies” and yet objects of love from the Creator of the Universe.

· God’s politics is about two women’s chatter. It’s about what the world sees as insignificant.

At the beginning of the Book of Exodus, Pharaoh is not named, he is simply the ruler of Egypt. But the two midwives of the Jews are named: Shifrah and Puah. They are the insignificant heroes of the story who save the children from death, including Moses the liberator.

· God’s politics is very effective in history. Where would we be if we did NOT have the story of the liberation of the slaves from Egypt and the stories of Jesus, the new Moses? If we did not have the teachings of Moses and Jesus? But God’s politics starts very small, where two “insignificant” women meet and chat about their lives.

· And God’s politics, God’s liberation for the world, then continues with God Herself taking on a human body in the womb of one of these two. The divine is not anymore out there, in the sky.

It is here among us, in our yearning for liberation, in our deep relationships like that of Mary and Elizabeth, in our willingness to question whether our practice of religion is a source of freedom for us, and in our willingness to share it with others. AMEN.