“…Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” (Luke 19:38).
Jesus’ triumphal entry seems a very odd Scripture selection in the middle of Advent. At the same time, if we think about it, this Scripture and the image above, illustrates what John the Baptist is announcing in this week lectionary’s reading. John the Baptist has as his task, to announce and prepare the way to the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
He Qi’s art, presents in a beautiful and unique way biblical images like the one above. In this image, we see one of the most powerful Jesus’ statements – I am here to challenge the oppressive powers of this world by the establishment of my kingdom. No wonder, the Pharisees request Jesus as he enters Jerusalem, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop”. Jesus’ disciples are excited about Jesus and the liberation he is bringing, although they eventually realize that the kind of liberation Jesus is talking about is quite different to what they had in mind.
This biblical passage as well as the image of Jesus’ triumphal entrance to Jerusalem has helped me to also illustrate the third principle of Cultural Humility, which is institutional accountability. Institutional accountability emphasizes the importance for organizations to commit to diversity, inclusion, and equity. In addition, this principle highlights the notion of sharing power and control as well as the establishment of systems within institutions that include all people and does not favor one specific group.
Jesus’ triumphal entrance to Jerusalem becomes one of the marks of the establishment of Jesus’ kingdom that is constantly challenging the World’s systems and institutions that are oppressive, even within religious institutions – and within the Church. The third principle of cultural humility within the Church’s context means that, as the Church of Christ, as active participants of the establishment of Jesus’ kingdom, we need to commit to be churches that offer wholistic ministry.
As the Church of Christ, we are called to challenge oppressive institutions in our communities. We are called to create spaces where people experience redemption, develop a sense of belonging for all people, and seek to restore those who have been historically neglected and exploited. As we think about this image and about the third principle of cultural humility, and as we continue in a posture of penance and expectation in this Advent season, let’s reflect together in the following questions:
- How committed I am to make transformation happen in oppressive institutions around me?
- How committed I am to keep nurturing my spiritual life, so I can endure confronting the powers and principalities of this world?
- What are the things that I am willing to let go for the sake of transformation in my own life, in my family, in my church, and in my community?
St. Romero once said:
“A Church that does not provoke any crisis, preach a gospel that does not unsettle, proclaim a word of God that does not get under anyone’s skin or a word of God that does not touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed: what kind of gospel is that?”
May God help us to provoke the kind of crises that bring transformation and the signs of the kingdom that Jesus came to establish.
If you would like to view past editions of Time with Ismael, follow this link: https://heritagedistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/