domingo, 2 de agosto de 2009

Or the Bread for real Liberation.

Miguel Zavala-Múgica+

Please, read the lessons indicated here:

Our lessons today, give us a group of key concepts: necessity, liberation process, committment, responsibility: Neliprocore, sounds Latin?, no it's not Latin, it's just a mnemotechnical word to remember these important concepts: NEcessity, LIberation PROcess, COmmitment, REsponsibility...
In the Exodus, we see the people of Israel coming out from slavery, and facing a difficult situation. They had cried in their distress, oppressed by real masters with a real and cruel power over them. Israel had been set free from slavery, and now they were claiming for the fleshpot of Egypt.
If only we have died by the hand of YAHWEH in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you (Moses and Aaron) have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
So even slavery has its own secret advantages...
They were now in the wilderness, facing hunger, thirst and tiredness, facing their own liberty... but how strange liberty was!! They were about cursing themselves. I'm afraid it's so easy to find what I want, but not so easy to know what I really need !
The author of the Epistle to the Ephesians says that the pagans had lost all sensitivity and had given themselves to any kind of lusts. It's also easy to put the word lust into a narrow moralistic definition, identifying it with any kind of pleasure (namely sexual pleasure); but things are not so simple as a fundamental interpretation might see.
The cost of being free.
Both the Israelites and the Pagan world described in Ephesians, were experiencing their own necessity of food, freedom, live, security, tenderness, housing, etc. We humans confuse our desires with our needs very often; that's because most of the time we cannot connect our needs and feelings with our sensitivity.
Such a connection depends on a process: a liberation process. When we are young, we usually show our desire of freedom and liberty, we want desperately to be autonomous and independent; likewise, adult people have sometimes to face terrible experiences in their matrimony or partnership: one or both members of a couple -one or both have to think about divorce or a kind or separation. Examples similar to these sometimes have to be lived as a liberation from a real hell.
Our responsibility in faith.
If I claim for freedom from parental authority, or from my spouse or partner, or even a liberation from a laboral or political oppression, I must be ready to face and run the race of a liberation process which shall demand my commitment and responsibility.
Our Episcopal Catechism says:

"A covenant is a relationship initiated by God, to which a body of people responds in faith..." (BCP, page 846).

Of course, this texts speaks primarily about the Old and the New Testaments, but it is also true that we can apply this on our own and collective present lives: I mean, when we experience the need and liberation and nutrition in our lives, then God Himself is talking inside our heart, in our own interior. He's starting a relationship of GRACE with us, and is awakening us for a walk with Him.

All the History of Salvation along Scripture, is an invitation to walk, to see new things, to meet new people, and to start new forms of connection to old friends and relatives: it's a process of liberation, a process of maturity. And you are required to respond in faith; it's more than a matter of etymologies to say that to be responsible is a way of responding.

Years ago I had to company and help a lady who had been the wife of a rich man, who gave her an offensive and humiliating life; divorce was a sad but necessary step to be taken. She asked for divorce against her husband's will, and she had to suffer being deprived even from her access to credit cards and to other facilities she had as the wife of such a rich man.

She suddenly saw herself doing the dishes at a restaurant, and having black persons, Latin girls, gay people and other so called marginalized people for new fellows and coworkers. She had the blessed experience of being fed and welcome even in the houses of these new friends...

...How strange Liberty can be!

If you have had to leave comfort and welfare of an old and oppressive situation, and you've had been forced to facing narrowness and sorrow to reach not only what you want, but what you really need, please make these words yours:

When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, Mah-náh"What is it?". For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them: "It is the bread that YAHWEH has given you to eat..."

Jesus gives us a key to connect us to our sensitivity:

Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.

He's not against our need of eating, being loved or helped.

But, please, start by checking your own reasons to come to church: I come to church to see friends, I come to church to get a partner, I come to church because I like how sounds the words "Father" or "Reverend" when people address to me; I come to church to hearing that wonderful choir, and to go to that glorious restaurant for lunch after Service is over; I come to church to learn how can I help a sister or brother in distress; I come to church to hear about that interesting gossip..., or to make businesses before the first anthem and after the dismissal.

Don't worry, perhaps everybody does that all the time, but, please -again-, connect to your own needs and feelings. Christ has come to us to give us the Holy Spirit, who makes us conscious of His divine Presence inside us: Connect to that and live your Baptism!

The question that St John says the Jesus' hearers asked to Him was:

"What must we do to perform the works of God? Jesus answered them: --"This is the Work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

So the Work of God is an attitude on our behalf: Faith. The same attitude that our Catechism says that is our own response (responsibility) to God, when He starts a Covenant with us.

Faith, what's that?: We are too used and familiar to the Greek definition of faith (pýstis), a kind of passive acceptance of somebody else's opinion and point of view (perfect for a dogmatic vision of religion and life). I'd like to remind you that our Christian religion was primarily thought on the basis of a Hebrew experience. That makes worthy to be taken on account that the Hebrew word for Faith is 'emunáh (our liturgical word 'amén comes from that), which is also related to the ideas of stability, affirmation, confidence and trust.

No, it's not a matter of a passive acceptance. The only thing we really have to leave out, before entering church, are our hate, intolerance and bad feelings (perhaps our hats or caps) but never our brains.

When we trust a friend or keep confidence on a person, even to leave our children at his or her charge, that's because we know him or her, that's because we have experienced his or her life. That's the kind of faith that Scripture talks about. God reveals Himself as worthy to be trusted, as worthy of faith; He also reveals Himself as taking care of human persons of every condition.

No blindness, nor darkness, but light and familiar warm experience!!

YAHWÉH /JESUS: A revelation of confidence and trust for us...

"I AM the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

Let's open the door of our hearts, so Jesus shall come into us and eat with us and us with Him (Revelation 3:20) .

Jesus has pronounced the divine Name YAHWÉH, to say "I AM the Bread of Life" . And this Name has a wide meaning and interpretation: 'eyéh 'ásher 'eyéh / yahwéh 'ásher yihyéh, is to be translated NOT as an affirmation thundered from the Olympic throne of Zeus: "I AM WHO I AM...!!", but from a powerful and compassive Father who promises us: "I AM WHO I AM, I HAVE BEEN WHO I HAVE BEEN AND I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE...", the famous Hebrew text allows us to translate it in such a plural way: it's a promise, not a threat.

Julian of Norwich gives us a good interpretation of this, in her personal and interior revealation, when she writes:

"...All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well"

(Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love)

Let's stop seeing Religion (I mean our personal and communal relationship with God) as an aspirin, and start to see and experience it as a response to His compassion, and a committment to grow and get mature in service and help to our neighbours, end to the whole creation.

If the Israelites found a new word for a new food and a new experience: Manáh ("What is this?"), why not learning a new word for our new values?, Neliprócore: necessity, liberation process, committment, responsibility.


For in all things God be glorified...


To Think about at the Time of Prayer:


"I it am..."

After this our Lord revealed Himself even more glorified, as far as I may tell, than I had seen before. And then I knew that our soul will never be at rest until it comes into Him: then we will know Him as our true life and be filled with His joy, His happiness, and His courteous homeliness.

And now, our Lord repeated many times:

I it am, I it am;

I it am that is highest;

i it am that you love;

I it am that you like;

I it am that you serve;

I it am that you long for;

I it am that you desire;

I it am that you mean;

I it am that is all;

I it am that holy Church preaches and teaches you;

I it am that showed myself to you here.

(... ...)

(Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love; No. 26; Translator and Editor: John Skinner; Image Books Double Day, 1996, pp. 53, 54).


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