Godot in Sarajevo

Looking for the Redemption of Jerusalem

First Sunday after Christmas

Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 148
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40

Over against the spectacle that Christmas in America has long since become – the kitschy sentimentality of front lawns unselfconsciously strewn with inflatable reindeer and snowmen alongside crèches populated by conspicuously Caucasian renditions of the Holy Family; the collective credit card induced hangover that invariably follows our annual orgy of consumerism; and our habitual rush always to look ahead to whatever’s next (there’s New Year’s Eve revelry to be planned, after all) – this week’s texts invite us to linger for a moment, and maybe take seriously the character and magnitude of what God has done and (believe it or not) continues to do through the Word made flesh. Read more

Our Place Redeemed

Sixth Sunday in Easter

John 14:23-29
Revelation 21:10, 22:1-5

In our contemporary world, it is difficult to belong. We are so busy and on the move, it seems to be better to keep commitments to a minimum. 20% to 30% of all Americans move each year and the average American moves fourteen times over a lifetime. Poet, essayist, and editor of Poetry magazine Christian Wiman remembers that when he was thirty-six years old, he had moved forty times in fifteen years. He said he owned nothing that would not fit easily into his car. When talking about this with some friends, all of whom were in their twenties and thirties, all smart, well-educated and upwardly mobile, they compared notes and realized that between them they had lived in every state and dozens of foreign countries. Not one person lived near where they were born and raised and none of them ever asked anyone else where they’re from, “skirting the question as if it were either too intimate or, more likely, too involved to broach.”

We are a society that believes in being mobile – people with no sense of belonging to a place or to anyone else but themselves and who can pick up and move whenever the corporation, the job, the career demands it. Read more

Show Us the Way

John 15:9-17

On March 12, 1977, Fr. Rutilio Grande, SJ, was assassinated along with two companions as they drove toward evening mass through the fields near El Paisnal, El Salvador. Fr. Grande knew where he was going. During his five years as parish priest in nearby Aguilares, he formed Christian base communities, trained lay “delegates,” and vocally opposed government attempts to silence Salvadoran priests who worked with and organized peasant laborers.

It was not a safe time. As Fr. Grande said, “It is practically illegal to be an authentic Christian in our situation because the world around us is rooted in an established disorder. Confronting that, the mere proclamation of the gospel is subversive.” Yet he had a larger vision: that of the Eucharistic table, the Lord’s Supper, which he described in a homily not long before his murder as, “the greatest commitment, the symbol of a shared table, with a seat for each person and tablecloths long enough for all creation.” “For this,” he added, presumably aware of the costs and demands of discipleship, “redemption is needed.” Read more