Fwd: Weekly Communique: Self-Sacrifice, not Self-Preservation

Catholic Charities Grupo de Solidaridad               
April 20, 2018

The next misa will be
April 22 at 9 AM

Newman Chapel
Corner of 10th St. and San Carlos


La próxima misa sera
el 22 de April a las 9 AM
Capilla de Newman

La esquina de las calles 10 y San Carlos


Members of Grupo Solidaridad went to the Central Valley last weekend to register people to vote and engage people in conversation about voting the values of racial and economic equality, respect for immigrants, support for public school education, and immigrant rights.

Sunday Reflection: 
Self-Sacrifice, not Self-Preservation  

Sunday’s gospel is taken from the 10th chapter in John’s gospel, “The Good Shepherd” discourse. As usual,  we must read the passage within the full context of the narrative and within the context of the specific gospel.  The majority of mainline scripture scholars have come to a consensus that the words of Jesus in chapter 10 reflect the struggle of the Early Church reckoning with its identity and defining leadership and membership in the community. A growing number of socio-political historians and liberation theology oriented scholars believe that the driving force behind the evangelist was not the concerns of the Early Church, but rather the actual struggle of Jesus against the Empire.  This weeks reflection, as all of the reflections in the Weekly Communique takes on the lens of a “liberating” theology grounded in the historical social-religious context of Jesus rather than the context of the Early Church.

Today’s passage is a part of the arc of “I AM” (in Greek, “ego eimi”) statements beginning in the 6th chapter of John. Drawn from Jewish sources, the “I AM” refers to God’s name.  (See Exod 3:14 – God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM,” and, "Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.” Exod 6:2 – And God said to Moses, "I am the LORD.” Deut 32:39a – "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me;”  and Isa 48:12 – "Hearken to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am He, I am the first, and I am the last.”). There are 7 “I AM” references in John’s gospel and each statement discloses an aspect of Jesus’ identity as Messiah-Savior/Son of God. Today we will focus on Jesus’ statement “IAM the Good Shepherd-I AM the Sheepgate.”

Just prior to the “IAM the Good Shepherd” passage Jesus healed the man born blind. Recall that in that specific story, the real action was between the man born blind and the people all around him.  The man born blind was able to see through the hypocrisy and duplicity of everyone around him by resisting the social forces that would have otherwise kept him being blind. Once the man “saw” not only the social reality that forced him to become a beggar and the religious institutional thinking that enabled his oppression, the man took responsibility for his own life and claimed his power. Only after this man resisted, did he actually see Jesus.  The Good Shepherd narrative follows that story.

Chapter 10 reads like expansive critique on the power structures that gave birth to social and religious oppression of certain classes of people. The chapter also situates Jesus (and by extension, his “movement”) as the instigator of change (some might even say, the one who undermined the status quo). Using the lens of liberation from the structures of oppression, let us turn to the first verse: “I say to you,  whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” This statement sets up Jesus’ social critique: that there are people who have entered the community in illegitimate ways. King Herod and his court immediately come to mind because they were placed in power by the Empire. Herod held power not through the presence of the Empire’s police force, but by leadership of the religious institution that served as a willing collaborator to the Empire.

In verse 10 Jesus says, “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Jesus delineates the difference between himself (and his movement) and the those who forced themselves onto the flock.  Today’s passage develops the theme of delineation. Jesus’ motivation does not come from grasping at power and his work does not result in scaring, separating and devouring the flock. Jesus calls out the motivations of the Empire. The collaborators of the Empire were not interested in the well-being of the flock because they were political mercenaries interested only in what they could personally gain from the flock.

Identifying himself as the Good Shepherd, Jesus stood up against this system saying, “I AM the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” In saying, “I AM the Good Shepherd,” Jesus defined resistance as self-sacrifice not rooted in self-righteousness, ideology or a spiritual desire for a martyr’s death but a rooted in unity with the flock and faithfulness to God. Resistance to the Empire inevitably led to a showdown with the enablers of the Empire: Herod and Pontius Pilate; however, the confrontation did not end with Jesus’ death. Jesus claimed his time and his space!  “This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”  Resistance was an act of faithfulness, not defiance.

And so today as we look at the American religious landscape and its unwavering support of the American Empire, we too, like Jesus must stand apart from the crowd and challenge the hypocrisy. As Jesus challenged the motivations of powerful people, we too must challenge political appointees who have grown rich while serving in office. While we cannot assume the role of the Good Shepherd, if we ground ourselves in unity with all people in a spirit of radical inclusion and in the love of God, and trust that what we do when we stand up to the Empire, we will be lifted up by the power of the God.

Weekly Intercessions
Thomas Aquinas (1225-12740) argued that a Christian has duty to take a stand against an unjust ruler.  When Aquinas’ teaching was first introduced, many in power were disturbed because those who yielded power and authority saw “the people” as mere “subjects” who had no divine or inherent rights. This kind of thinking permeated nobility and it resulted in abuse and tyranny. Centuries prior to Aquinas, St. Augustine of Hippo argued that an individual is not bound to obey an unjust law.  The Church, it would seem, supports the idea of resistance. Unfortunately for much of Western history, the Church did not side with the people in their just opposition to tyranny. In fact the Church often provided public moral support to the king or an evil tyrant rather than to the people who suffered under tyranny. Over the centuries; however, the pendulum swung back toward the care of the people. By the time the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) was underway, it became clear that the Church had returned to the Gospel mandate to care for the people.  Vatican II documents underscore the duty of the faithful to look at “the signs of the times” and interpret what they see in “the light of the Gospel.” This means that people must get engaged in the world around them even to the point holding their own kings and presidents accountable to caring for all people (not just their friends and supporters) and promoting the common good (not special interests of their patrons). Let us pray for greater courage for those who agitate for social justice and challenge the political  status quo.

Intercesiónes semanales
S. Tomás de Aquino (1225-12740) dijo que un cristiano tiene el deber de tomar una posición en contra de un gobernante injusto. Cuando se introdujeron por primera vez las enseñanzas de Aquino, muchos en el poder fueron perturbados porque aquellos que cedieron el poder y la autoridad vieron a “el pueblo" como meros "súbditos" que no tenían derechos divinos o inherentes. Este tipo de pensamiento impregnó a la nobleza y resultó en abuso y tiranía. Siglos antes de S. Tomás de Aquino, S. Agustín de Hipona dijo que un individuo no está obligado a obedecer una ley injusta. La Iglesia, al parecer, apoya la idea de la resistencia. Desafortunadamente para gran parte de la historia occidental, la Iglesia no se puso del lado de la gente en su justa oposición a la tiranía. De hecho, la Iglesia a menudo proporcionaba apoyo moral público al rey o un tirano malvado en lugar de a la gente que sufría bajo la tiranía. A través de los siglos; sin embargo, el péndulo se volvió hacia el cuidado del pueblo oprimido. Cuando comenzó el Concilio Vaticano II (1962-1965), se hizo evidente que la Iglesia había vuelto al mandato evangélico de cuidar del pueblo. Los documentos del Vaticano II subrayan el deber de los fieles de mirar "los signos de los tiempos" e interpretar lo que ven en "la luz del Evangelio". Esto significa que la gente debe involucrarse en el mundo que los rodea, incluso al punto sus propios reyes y presidentes responsables de cuidar a todas las personas (no solo a sus amigos y seguidores) y promover el bien común (y no sirve los intereses especiales de sus patrocinadores). Oremos por un valor mayor para aquellos que agitan la justicia social y desafían el status quo político.

Reflexión del domingo:  
Auto-sacrificio, no auto-preservación 

El evangelio del domingo se toma del capítulo 10 del evangelio de Juan, el discurso del "Buen Pastor". Como de costumbre, debemos leer el pasaje dentro del contexto completo de la narración y dentro del contexto del evangelio específico. La mayoría de los principales estudiosos de las Escrituras han llegado a un consenso de que las palabras de Jesús en el capítulo 10 reflejan la lucha de la Iglesia Primitiva con su identidad y la definición de liderazgo y membresía en la comunidad. Un número cada vez mayor de historiadores socio-políticos y teólogos orientados a la teología de la liberación creen que la fuerza que impulsaba al evangelista no eran las preocupaciones de la Iglesia Primitiva, sino la lucha real de Jesús contra el Imperio. Esta reflexión de semanas, ya que todas las reflexiones en el Communique toman el lente de una teología "liberadora" basada en el contexto social-religioso histórico de Jesús en lugar del contexto de la Iglesia Primitiva.

El pasaje de hoy es parte del arco de las declaraciones del "YO SOY" (en griego, "ego eimi") que comienza en el capítulo 6 de S Juan. Extraído de fuentes judías, el "YO SOY" se refiere al nombre de Dios. (Véase Éxodo 3:14 – Dios le dijo a Moisés, "YO SOY EL QUE SOY", y, "Di esto al pueblo de Israel, YO SOY me ha enviado a ti." Ex 6: 2 – Y Dios le dijo a Moisés , “YO SOY el SEÑOR." Deut 32: 39a – "Mira ahora que yo, aun yo, soy él, y no hay Dios fuera de mí", e Isa 48:12 – "Oyeme, oh Jacob, e Israel" a quien llamé! YO SOY, soy el primero y el último ".) Hay 7 referencias" YO SOY "en el evangelio de Juan y cada declaración revela un aspecto de la identidad de Jesús como el Mesías-Salvador / Hijo de Dios. Hoy nos enfocaremos en la declaración de Jesús “YO SOY el Buen Pastor".

Justo antes del pasaje de “YO SOY, el Buen Pastor", Jesús sanó al hombre ciego de nacimiento. Recuerde que en esa historia específica, la verdadera acción fue entre el hombre ciego y las personas que le rodean. El hombre ciego de nacimiento fue capaz de ver a través de la hipocresía y la duplicidad de todos a su alrededor al resistir las fuerzas sociales que de otro modo lo hubieran mantenido ciego. Una vez que el hombre "vio" no solo la realidad social que lo forzó a convertirse en mendigo y el pensamiento institucional religioso que le permitió su opresión, el hombre asumió la responsabilidad de su propia vida y reclamó su poder. Solo después de que este hombre se resistió, realmente vio a Jesús. La narrativa del Buen Pastor sigue esa historia.

El capítulo 10 se parece a la crítica expansiva sobre las estructuras de poder que dieron origen a la opresión social y religiosa de ciertas clases de personas. El capítulo también sitúa a Jesús (y por extensión, su "movimiento") como el instigador del cambio (algunos incluso podrían decir, el que menospreció el status quo). Usando la perspectiva de la liberación de las estructuras de opresión, volvamos al primer versículo: "Os digo, el que no entra por la puerta en un redil de ovejas, sino que se sube a otra parte, es ladrón y ladrón. Pero quien ingresa por la puerta es el pastor de las ovejas ". Esta declaración establece la crítica social de Jesús: que hay personas que han ingresado a la comunidad de manera ilegítima. El rey.
Herodes y su concilio inmediatamente vienen a la mente. Ellos fueron puestos en el poder por el Imperio. Herodes tenía el poder no solo por la presencia de la fuerza policial del Imperio, sino por las instituciones religiosas como colaboradores dispuestos.

En el versículo 10, Jesús dice: "El ladrón viene solo para hurtar, matar y destruir; Vine para que puedan tener vida y tenerla en abundancia”.  Jesús delinea la diferencia entre él (y su movimiento) y los que se forzaron a sí mismos en el rebaño. El pasaje de hoy desarrolla el tema de delineación. La motivación de Jesús no proviene de aferrar el poder y su trabajo no resulta en asustar, separar y devorar al rebaño. Jesús llama a las motivaciones del Imperio. Los colaboradores del Imperio no estaban interesados en el bienestar del rebaño porque eran mercenarios políticos interesados solo en lo que podían obtener personalmente del rebaño.

Identificándose a sí mismo como el Buen Pastor, Jesús se levantó en contra de este sistema diciendo: "YO SOY el buen pastor, y yo sé que el mío y el mío me conocen, así como el Padre me conoce y yo conozco al Padre; y daré mi vida por las ovejas ". Al decir:" YO SOY el Buen Pastor ", Jesús definió la resistencia como auto-sacrificio no enraizado en la justicia propia, la ideología o el deseo espiritual de la muerte de un mártir, sino enraizado en unidad con el rebaño y fidelidad a Dios. La resistencia al Imperio inevitablemente condujo a un enfrentamiento con los habilitadores del Imperio: Herodes y Poncio Pilato; sin embargo, el conflicto no terminó con la muerte de Jesús. ¡Jesús reclamó su tiempo y su espacio! "Esta es la razón por la que el Padre me ama, porque doy mi vida para retomarla. Nadie me quita eso, pero lo dejo solo. Tengo poder para dejarlo y poder para retomarlo. Este mandato que he recibido de mi Padre ". La resistencia fue y es un acto de fidelidad, no de desafío.

Y así, hoy cuando miramos el paisaje religioso estadounidense y su apoyo inquebrantable al Imperio estadounidense, nosotros también, como Jesús, debemos destacarnos de la multitud y desafiar la hipocresía. Cuando Jesús desafió las motivaciones de las personas poderosas, nosotros también debemos desafiar a los políticos que se han enriquecido mientras sirvieron en el cargo. Si bien no podemos asumir el papel del Buen Pastor, si nos afirmamos en la unidad con todas las personas en un espíritu de inclusión radical y en el amor de Dios, y confiamos en lo que hacemos cuando nos enfrentamos al Imperio, seremos levantado por el poder de Dios.

Many people in Silicon Valley struggle to remain close to their work and families. Some people cannot afford to pay rent and thus nearly 6,000 people live on the streets and tens of thousands live in crowded conditions in garages, sofas and entire families in one room. Overcrowding and homelessness is especially tragic when it occurs in the wealthiest county in California.



The judicial system has determined that the DACA program continue and that DACA recipients should continue to renew their applications.

La decision judicial ha decidido que el programa de DACA continúe y que los recipientes de DACA continúen renovando sus solicitudes.

For immigrant legal services

Para servicios legales de inmigrantes
Grupo Solidaridad is supporting PACT and PICO California’s signature gathering for the “Schools and Communities First” Initiative. We need signatures and people to help gather signatures of registered voters!

The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act will restore over $11 billion per year to California’s schools, community colleges, health clinics, and other vital local services.

We can no longer afford to keep giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires and big corporations. Closing California’s commercial property tax loophole restores $11 billion for schools, community colleges and other vital community services, including emergency responder services, parks, libraries, health clinics, trauma centers, affordable housing, homeless services, and roads.

Join the League of Women Voters of California, PICO California, California Calls, Advancement Project California, Evolve California, Common Sense Kids Action, Alliance San Diego, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of California (CHIRLA) and the California Federation of Teachers to fund California schools by closing the Corporate Property Tax Loophole in Proposition 13 while continuing to guarantee protections for homeowners, residential renters, agricultural land, and small businesses.

Cultural expression in dance, song, and poetry is  important  because the performing arts hold our cultural identity and history. When we forget where we came from, we lose sight of where we are going.

Parish Engagement Voter Registration Drive!
Members of Grupo Solidaridad are traveling to the Central Valley to register people to vote. This work is important because people of color and Latino families are under-engaged in the electoral process in areas where nativist, racist and anti-immigrant politics dominate the political landscape and supporters of social justice are the minority. By volunteering to help the leaders in the Central Valley register voters, we magnify their work.  The combined efforts of Grupo and Central Valley leaders has given a real boost to the voter registration drives in traditionally “Red” districts.  We believe that when the diversity in the electorate increases, the electorate will broaden the political and social agenda of the district. Last weekend Grupo members held 160 meaningful conversations about the importance of participating in democracy and supporting candidates and measures that reflect the social justice values. These conversations will hopefully bear fruit in voter turnout. The grupo also registered 20 new voters who are motivated to vote and get engaged in the Resistance Movement!  If you are interested in participating in this effort, contact Bill Roth:

Come and be a part of the annual May Day march! Plan on marching with Grupo Solidaridad!

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