Michaela Bruzzese, a Sojourners contributing writer, teaches theology at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, N.M.
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Living the Word
"In my chest full of flowers, Flowering wholly and only for Him, There He remained sleeping; I cared for Him there, And the fan of the high cedars cooled Him." In Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross recalls the tenderness with which he cared for God. Clearly, he knew not only how to welcome God, but how to treat God as beloved. His experience is echoed this month in the numerous ways the faithful have welcomed and cared for the Holy One: Abraham welcomes God as guest and dialogue partner; the disciple Mary welcomes God as teacher, and Jesus teaches us to welcome God first as an enemy in need, and then as "Abba," our beloved dad. This Abba is not a remote, distant father but a devoted parent who cares for us with a mother's tenderness: "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you...your heart shall rejoice; your bodies shall flourish like the grass" (Isaiah 66:13-14).
In a world filled with overwhelming suffering and persistent injustice, the work of discipleship can easily become life-draining instead of life-giving. Discipleship can become a burden that prevents us from recognizing the most important thing: the presence of God with us, and loving this Abba as we are first loved - with all our hearts and souls. When we, like St. John, not only welcome but cherish God's presence, whether in the stranger, enemy, or friend, we are comforted so that our hearts shall rejoice, and our work of discipleship shall flourish.
The Eternal Thou
The history of the struggles of the oppressed is the history of the call of the Holy Spirit to a divided world, writes Mexican theologian Maria Pilar Aquino in Our Cry for Life. For liberation theologians, the presence of the Holy Spirit is synonymous with the struggle for liberation. This observation is
With Our Whole Lives
"Only in our doing can we grasp you, only with our hands can we illumine you....
Living the Word
Living the Word
Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary, Cycle C
The Good News
Matthew, Luke, and John tell us the story of Jesus in their own words, firmly linking him to the Hebrew Testament through scripture and events. The accounts confirm Jesus’ heritage as the true king, the one who will "judge your people with righteousness and your poor with justice" (Psalm 72:2). For Matthew, Jesus is a liberator in the line of Moses (Matthew 2:1-12). Luke assures us that Jesus is the Messiah, the one who is so passionately awaited in Jewish scriptures (Luke 4:18). John insists that Jesus is both flesh and sign; he is the one who transforms ordinary substances into sacrament, so that we may know and taste God’s presence in the world (John 2:11).
They remind us that Jesus is no ordinary king, for his primary concern is for those who, in the world’s eyes, have nothing and are nothing. They are "the oppressed," "the poor," "the needy," "the blind, "the captives," "the weak," and "those who have no helper." Jesus is king of the downtrodden, and he calls us, as his living body, to be the same.
It is Paul who insists that as Christians we be a body—individuals who are equal, treated with mutual respect, and united (1 Corinthians 12:13). Living as one body does not come without difficulties, but Paul reminds us that we bear the Spirit for one purpose only, "the common good" (1 Corinthians 12:7). If we are to follow this Messiah king, the common good, especially of those left behind, is our only goal.
If Not Now, When?
Rabbi Tarfon said, "The day is short. The work is long. We are not enjoined to complete the task.
Sharper than a Sword
"We must re-vision Christian faith as a combative, argumentative, and emancipatory" practice that seeks "the well-being of all."
"That's when I want you—you knower of my emptiness, you unspeaking partner to my sorrow. That's when I need you, God, like food," wrote Rainer Maria Rilke in his Book of Hours.
Peace Be With You
Despite Jesus' greeting to the disciples, the weeks following his resurrection are anything but peaceful for the struggling community.
"How do you want to spend your life? We all know you can ruin it.
You Are What You Worship
Common Like Bread
The Beginning and the End
Our churches have attempted to corner the market on grace, to act as society's sole dispensers of salvation.
Only when we know ourselves as broken yet fiercely loved can we share the gift of new life.
Saying Yes Anyway
Loaves and Fishes
The Covenant to Overcome Poverty needs you!