On this Sunday closest to America’s national holiday, the readings focus on lust, greed and power. A useful reminder that the American experiment is not an innocent endeavor. The pursuit of freedom included black troops and martyrs like Crispus Attucks but the legislated endowment of freedom allowed for and protected the enslavement of Africans, disenfranchisement of Natives and of women, excluded from its promises and participation in its new government.
Against that background the violation of women by religious leaders is as onerous in the text as it is on this day not long after the release of the report of sexual harassment and assault and, attempts to cover it up in the Southern Baptist Convention. And also, renewed attention to the history of “Indian schools” where native children were subjected to horrific treatment by Roman Catholics and Episcopalians in the United States and Canada. Those children were forcibly alienated from their heritage, culture, language and traditions as were enslaved Africans. Many of the children were beaten, sexually assaulted, subjected to horrific tortures, killed and buried in graves that are just coming to light.
In response, the psalmist looks at the evil around her, noting it is largely perpetrated by the wealthy and sits back waiting for them to receive their just end, trusting in a just and faithful God. The epistle warns against the love of money and urges contentment with what one has. And the gospel calls for fidelity with whatever one has in terms similar to the epistle. But one of the Lukan expressions, the slave who cannot love two masters, reminds the reader/hearer that the world of the gospel, like the American experiment is not yet a space in which there is freedom and liberty for all.