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Showing posts from 2011


The first Christmas: we re-enact it almost every December. In our school plays and our church pageants. In our re-enactments, Joseph and a very pregnant Mary find no room in any inn. No one is ready and willing to welcome the couple. Eventually, they find shelter among animals, in a manger, where Jesus is born. Soon, visitors arrive: angels, shepherd, even the Little Drummer Boy in some of our plays, and then the magi bringing gifts. Incidentally, in one TV spot, one of the magi brings the Baby Jesus the newest Android Smartphone. In a painting going around in our social networks, the magi cannot visit Jesus because an apartheid wall blocks their path. Our plays usually end on a happy note because we either end it with everyone singing carols or with a rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, sang by the choir or blasted through our sound systems. And we forget that the play ended the way it began: there was no room in the inn. In rare occasions we do find people going against the …

Sunday Homily... An Invitation

An Invitation from Galilee Most of us love stories with surprises. The women in Mark 16: 1-8 were in for a few surprises themselves. They went to the tomb that early Sunday morning bringing spices to anoint Jesus’ body worrying about the stone blocking the tomb. Unlike the many doors in our homes and churches and buildings—with its specific locks and, even, numeric codes—the women had no key to unlock the door. The women expected a locked tomb, they expected a dead body inside, and they expected to use the spices they brought to anoint that dead body. But, and we all know this already, when they got there the stone had already been rolled away, the tomb was empty, there was no dead body to anoint—Jesus was not where they expected him to be. Like the women at the tomb, we want Jesus in a box, with a lock, where we could do whatever we want to do with him. Moreover, like the women we expect Jesus to be in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, in Mark, is supposed to be a holy place. It is where God is …

The International Day of the Disappeared and the Empty Tomb

We, who call ourselves Christian, should not forget that the One we call Lord and Liberator was an Executed God. He was abducted in the dead of night, unjustly tried, beaten, tortured, and executed between two rebels. Then his body was thrown into a borrowed grave. In the Gospel of Mark, at dawn on Sunday three of his disciples, all women, visit the grave to anoint his dead body. They find the grave empty. There was no body. Jesus had disappeared.

The Gospel of Mark ends with the women described as silent and afraid. Jesus had disappeared.

Today, August 30 is the International Day of the Disappeared. We are invited to stand in solidarity with friends & families of the missing who continue to seek justice, and in remembrance of the thousands of desaparecidos in the Philippines, in many Third World countries, and around the world.

Like the women at the tomb, many of us are silent and afraid. Like the women in the tomb, we want to find The Disappeared. We want to find them alive. Or…

The Pais, Onesimus, and a Canaanite Mother

In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke we find a story about a rich military officer, a centurion, who came to Jesus seeking healing for his sick slave. Jesus gave him his wish. Restore things back to where they were before. A sick slave is worthless to his master. A sick slave, so sick he is paralyzed, has no use to his owner. Almost every time this story is preached Jesus or the centurion gets to be the hero. We do not hear the voice of the sick slave. We do not even know his name. We do not know why he was sick or why he was paralyzed. We only know what his owner, what his master said.

Then and now, nothing has changed. The voices we hear are those of the owners, the masters, the rich, and those in power. Nothing has changed. They tell us that their slaves are indolent; that they are weak and sickly; that they are not trustworthy; that they are thieves; that they ran away; that they have no sense of indebtedness or gratitude; and, when their slaves die, owners, masters, the rich, and t…

Dancing, Women, and Prophets

The oldest Christian tradition, quite possibly formulated within the first decade from Jesus’ crucifixion, is the Christological hymn that Paul quotes in Philippians 2: 5-11. Hebrew Bible scholars agree that the oldest tradition from Ancient Israel, quite possibly already circulating a generation or two from the Exodus event, is found in the book of Exodus. Chapter 15: 20-21 to be exact. Let me read it in its entirety….
Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:
“Sing to the LORD,
for God is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
God has hurled into the sea
This passage, over three thousand years old, challenges many of our most cherished practices and traditions. First, the main characters in this oldest poem are women. Not men. Second, their faith expression is dancing, not preaching. Third, their leader is a prophet, not a priest; a woman, not a man; Miriam, not Moses.