Sunday, January 15, 2017

"Habemus Mamam" – Amid US Immigrants' Fears, Francis Sends A "Message of 'Pope'"

As papers across the country lead with local takes on this Sunday before a Presidential Inauguration unlike any these United States have seen – at least since the Jacksonian Age – in the context of the nation's largest religious body, it's hardly an accident that the Man in White has seen fit to send a word.

Per longstanding custom, these post-Epiphany days have marked the Stateside Church's annual National Migration Week... yet never before has the moment been anchored by a personal message from the Pope – and one intended specifically for the nation's newcomers, at that.

Given the sizable fear among US Catholicism's formidable immigrant presence ahead of Friday's swearing-in of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President amid draconian promises on the charged issue, the national week's close in the fold's premier migrant hub brought an extraordinary moment as Francis himself sent a "message of hope": one pointedly rooted in the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe from her 1531 apparitions to St Juan Diego – the critical point of the faith's journey to the Americas, which served to spur the largest mass conversion in the history of Christendom.

Recorded as part of an interview Papa Bergoglio granted the SoCal-based El Sembrador (The Sower) apostolate – the full exchange to be released later this month – the Pope's prod was delivered at an early-morning Mass celebrated by LA's Archbishop José Gomez, whose November ascent as Vice-President of the US bishops was arguably secured by his own loaded message at a hastily-called liturgy in the election's wake in his cathedral, thus affirming on the broad scale a rapid, firm doubling-down on the church's prime fault-line with the incoming administration.

Against said backdrop, here's film of the scene in LA's Dolores Mission as Francis' message was shown, followed by its translation in English, y entonces el texto en español...

Do not forget that we have a mother. When Juanito, now St. Juan Diego, would try to run away from the Virgin, our mother, because she would complicate things for him…she said to him: “My son, Juanito, do not be afraid. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?”

We are a community that also has a mother and Jesus gave her to us – his mother and our mother – and a community with a mother should feel safe.

Russian monks from the medieval period or before had a lovely saying...back then they would say: “when there is spiritual turbulence, take refuge under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God.” And this is what I want to tell you, she said it to Juan Diego in his language: “Do not be afraid. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?”

Sometimes I think….that the best thing we could do for many Christians is to sell them mothballs…so they can put them on their clothes and go about their lives so they do not become moth-eaten. Because if you are closed off you will become moth-eaten. You must go out. You must go out. You must share the message of Jesus. It is not enough to talk about the message of Jesus – you must give the message of Jesus – as I receive it from Him through a brother or sister, who gives me grace and then I give it. This is what all Christians must do. I must not keep the message of Jesus to myself.

It is not to keep, it is to give. So each time the message passes through my hands, I am delivering it and by doing this I will rise from the cave.

Of course, the parishes should go to the streets, any organization should be on the streets. By go to the streets, I mean go out and look for open doors. My heart is on the streets, that is, my Christian heart is open to a message, to those who suffer and to those who are going through bad times and to those who are ill. It means the works of mercy, which are the spine of the gospel. If we read the questions that Jesus will ask when he judges us – they are the works of mercy. Matthew 25. I was hungry and you gave me food.

Go forward with courage, prayer and much tenderness – much tenderness.

May Almighty God bless you + Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

[En español] No se olviden que tenemos una madre. Cuando Juanito el hoy San Juan Diego le escapaba un poco a la Virgen, a la Madre, porque... esta señora me pone complicaciones... ella le dijo: ''niño Juanito, no tengas miedo, acaso no estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?''

Nosotros somos un pueblo que también tiene una madre, y Jesús nos las dejó, su madre y nuestra madre, y un pueblo con madre tiene que sentirse seguro.

Los monjes rusos de la época medieval o antes, tienen un consejo muy lindo...antes...decían ''cuando hay turbulencias espirituales, acogerse bajo el manto de la Santa Madre de Dios"; y eso es lo que puedo y quiero decirles, ella se lo dijo a Juanito en su lengua, no tengas miedo...acaso no estoy yo aquí que soy tu Madre? y ese es como el saludo que les quiero dar.

A veces creo que... el mejor negocio que podemos hacer con muchos cristianos, es venderles naftalina... para que se la pongan en la ropa y en su vida y no se apolillen, porque están encerrados y se van a apolillar, tienen que salir, tienen que salir, tienen que ir a llevar el mensaje de Jesús; el mensaje de Jesús no es para conservarlo para mí, el mensaje de Jesús es para darlo; así como yo lo recibo de Él a través de un hermano o de una hermana me viene esa gracia, yo la doy; eso es lo que tienen que hacer todos los cristianos, yo no me puedo guardar en conserva el mensaje de Jesús.

No es para guardarlo, es para darlo entonces, cada uno vez que ese mensaje pasa por mis manos lo voy entregando y de esa manera salgo de la cueva.

Por supuesto o sea las parroquias a la calle,
cualquier institución a la calle,
a la calle en el sentido de salir a buscar ehh puertas abiertas
mi corazón ala calle, es decir
mi corazón cristiano abierto a un mensaje
al que sufre, al que esta pasando un mal momento, al enfermo
es decir las obras de misericordia
que son como la columna vertebral del evangelio
si nosotros leemos las preguntas que nos va a hacer Jesús cuando nos juzgue
son las obras de misericordia, de Mateo 25 –
[que] tuve hambre me diste de comer.

Adelante con encoraje, oración, y mucha blandura – mucha blandura.

La bendición de Dios + Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo. 
*   *   *
While recent weeks have seen a host of related interventions from key US prelates – from the op-ed plug of the national CLINIC network by its chair, Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, to New Orleans' Archbishop Gregory Aymond's local reminder of the inviolability of the family, and an extraordinary turn in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano from the issue's elder statesman, LA's retired Cardinal Roger Mahony – in light of Gomez's unique triple role as an immigrant himself, head of the largest local church American Catholicism has ever known, and now the bench's first Chief-in-Waiting to hail from Southern California (home to some one in seven members of the entire national fold), Don José's Thursday preface to Francis' message nonetheless serves as the top line to chart the path ahead....
My dear brothers and sisters,

It is a joy to be with you this morning and to be with your families to celebrate National Migration Week.

The Catholic Bishops of the United States celebrate this week every year to remind us — that we are not alone, that we are all in this together.

The Church is a “family of families” — a people called together from every part of the world. All of us coming together to share our faith, our traditions, our values and our gifts. So we celebrate today with the Bishops and with our Catholic brothers and sisters everywhere across this country.

I know that these times are a challenge for many of us. God’s family always goes through times of testing. That is the point of that first reading we heard this morning.

The children of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years! God was walking with them, he was leading his people. But it was never easy. In fact, some days it was really hard for them.

It is the same today. We are a nation of immigrants, that’s true! But immigration to this country has never been easy. We come to this beautiful country — many at great personal sacrifice. And we all come with dreams of building a better life.

But immigrants have always faced resentment and backlash. Think about the Irish, the Italians, the Polish, the Japanese. It is no different with the today’s immigrants.

I know it gets frustrating, sometimes we get afraid — because we don’t know the future, we don’t know what’s going to happen.

But when times get hard, we have to be careful not to let our hearts get hard, too. That’s the message that we hear today in the Word of God. “Harden not your hearts!” Never give in to the temptation to anger, to be bitter.

My brothers and sisters, Always trust God! Always! Never, never give up on him! Because he is never, never going to give up on you. God goes with us. Jesus goes with us! The Holy Family goes with us!

We remember the Posada, right? Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay — and nobody would take them in, nobody welcomed them. But God was with them, and Mary and Joseph were strong and trusted him — and they brought the Child Jesus into this world.

There is a beautiful line in that first reading this morning: “Encourage yourselves daily while it is still ‘today.’” We need to have solidarity in our communities.

We need to stand together, in the Church, with the Church. We are one family of God! And when one of us is hurting, the rest of us need to offer a helping hand. To show love, compassion and healing.

In our Gospel passage today, Our Lord is moved with pity by the leper who comes to him. He stretches out his hand, he touches the leper and Our Lord speaks to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”

We are like that leper. We are outcast, we are on the margins. And yet this is how much Jesus loves us, this is how much our Blessed Mother loves us, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

If you notice, Jesus always makes contact with people, he always looks on them with love and he wants to touch them and speak personally to them. We need to have that same kind of tenderness and care for one another.

My brothers and sisters, in this Mass we are going to hear a message from Pope Francis himself — a message of hope that Our Holy Father is sending because he wants us to hear it. So this is really a special day.

So keep encouraging yourselves and let us keep the faith strong in our families. Let us be a good example for our country. Let us reach out to the people in our communities.

Let us open our arms to welcome every one, let us find room for everyone. Let us keep praying and working for immigration reform in our country!

Never forget, my brothers and sisters: Jesus loves you, and our Blessed Mother loves you — and the whole Church loves you!

¡Que Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!
¡Que viva San Juan Diego!

¡Que viva San Junípero Serra!
¡Que viva Cristo Rey!