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14th Sunday of Ordinary Time Proclaiming the Prophets

“Jesus came from his native place, accompanied by his disciples...” (Mk. 6:1-6)

“Jesus came from his native place, accompanied by his disciples,” is how today’s gospel begins. On this July 4th, we celebrate Independence Day long after Mark chronicled Jesus walking into the world where his Father’s kingdom had not come to fruition. It was only two weeks ago that Congress passed a law midweek to make Juneteenth a Federal holiday – took Friday off and enjoyed the weekend. It is interesting that our Congress took time to give people a day off during the summer, but could not pass a law that would protect the voting rights of the people that Juneteenth is intended to celebrate.

The good news is that Jesus’ disciples continued the walk in their native place. One of Jesus’ disciples, James Baldwin, spoke of this day in 1963, saying, “The country is celebrating 100 years of freedom 100 years too soon,” and Baldwin continued, “We cannot be free until they are free.” Then disciples came and marched on Washington in August 1963 after James Baldwin came with the word and a smaller group of disciples. Folk that came to the March on Washington animated Baldwin’s word, which was the divine Word. Atheists, agnostics, Christians, Jews, Black and White, native and immigrant, took the walk from their native place so that “they are free.” This freedom is the essence of Dr. James Cone’s Black Liberation Theology. On the day before he died, Dr. King continued the walkabout which he wrote, saying “I will be happy. Now that’s a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That’s a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period…”

We celebrate today, because we know that God spoke through Baldwin with, “We cannot be free until they are free.” Jesus continues to speak as he spoke in today’s gospel with these words: “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his house.” Since it is obvious that we are not free, today we celebrate that Jesus is still walking, and in the way of the Baptist, Baldwin, and King prophets continue to rise from the ranks of the disciples. Oh, that I might be one who rises.

Author: Deacon Timothy E. Tilghman "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am;" I said; "send me!"

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