Privilege & Unintended Consequences

Wednesday of Week 14 in Ordinary Time

The Prophet Hosea is calling Israel to task because prosperity has gotten to their head. They were neglecting their relationship with God. More specifically they were giving in to idolatry and unjust practices in daily living. The privilege of that covenant relationship has brought God’s favor in many ways. But Israel began to see their prosperity as the result of their own industry and initiative. Prosperity has a way of diverting our focus from God to ourselves and our possessions. It’s easily a first-world problem. But this idolatry (it does replace God with our own ego and sense of self-sufficiency) will result in a disruption of our relationship with our neighbor and the rest of creation. So when we have lost our focus on God, we will neglect justice and our proper care of the natural world. Conversely, a right relationship with God will have positive repercussions on our relationship with others and the world around us.

Jesus names 12 to be his closest collaborators in his work of proclaiming Good News and bringing about the Kingdom of God. He doesn’t name them to privilege but to service. The trappings of privilege developed over time, which has become an unintended consequence for present day church leadership. And because of this idolatry (replacing God with titles and regalia and a disregard for the vulnerable and powerless) the relationship between the shepherds and their sheep is strained and distorted. We need to refocus on a right relationship with God first. The rest will follow.

We offered this mass for the repose of +Hubert Lieser.

Rolo B Castillo © 2020

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