Weekly Communique: True Shepherds

Catholic Charities Grupo de Solidaridad July 21 2018 MISA DE SOLIDARIDAD THIS SUNDAY
This week’s misa will be July 22 at 9 AM Newman Chapel Corner of San Carlos and 10th Sts.
MISA DE SOLIDARIDAD La próxima misa sera el 22 de julio a las 9AM Capilla Newman Esquina de las calles San Carlos y 10
============================================================ WEEKLY COMMUNIQUE
Sunday Reflection: True Shepherds The gospel text from this Sunday comes from Mark 6:30-34. The first reading and psalm amplify Mark 6:34, “When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” Today’s gospel passage takes on the theme of “shepherd” because of the liturgical context of pairing the Jeremiah 23:1-6 “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture…” and Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…” Today we will look at the Jewish understanding of “shepherd” as a way to unpack the on-going theme of spiritual and ministerial Resistance to the Roman Empire.
In Judaism (and by extension, Christianity) there are seven Shepherds (not counting Jesus as the Christ). They are: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. According to an ancient Jewish spiritual belief, these seven shepherds take turn visiting the sukkah (an outdoor shelter built to commemorate the Festival of Tabernacles, or Sukkot. The temporary nature of the booth stands as a ritual reminder that the Jewish people once had to dwell in the “wilderness” for 40 years and essentially live under the stars). What then would be the significance for these seven shepherds to visit people in their sukkahs? With the visit of each shepherd, the people would be reminded that these Shepherds will help lead God’s people to freedom. The prophet Micah prophesied that God will raise up seven shepherds to help lead God’s people to freedom when the powerful Assyrian Empire invades the land. Spiritually and mystically it becomes evident that those who erect these fragile shelters are in fact the shepherds themselves. Those who erect the sukkahs are the agents of their own liberation. The faithful are not the sheep, but the shepherds!
As a rabbi, Jesus would understand the reference to “shepherd” in a specific context. Shepherds, as understood in the First Century CE were strong and fierce protectors of the flock. The Jewish people have from their call of Abraham through the time of Jesus (and up through today), are a people who hold onto the identity as a pilgrim people, that is, a people on the move, who have been displaced from their place of origin and are in a constant state of asserting and reasserting their right to exist. In the context of the First Century, the image of a shepherd as a fierce protector becomes a figure of resistance. We see this in Mark 6:34, “When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” The resistance is in capacity building of the vast crowd who were vulnerable to attack. They were waiting for the Messiah, the ultimate shepherd who would lead them into a fierce battle to reclaim their own land from the Empire. Jesus, who seems to have been a part of the spiritual and mystical school that taught the ancient lesson that the seven shepherds of Judaism were actually the people themselves. Teaching the people “many things” would result in self-empowerment. The people would see themselves not as victims, but as shepherds would would fiercely defend the flock and establish security for the people.
The Jewish people are also a people of the land: that is, a people who are connected to a specific place on earth in which they worship God and prepare themselves to be a “Light to the Gentiles.” Ancient Jewish mystics named eight “princes,” that is, the mystical “eight rulers” who would be tied to the fixed geography of the Jewish people who would save the Jewish people. These eight rulers along with the seven shepherds would appear together in the sukkah…and similarly, these rulers would not be “magical” figures, but rather, the people themselves. These rulers protect the people not only from external enemies, but also internal enemies, that is, those who would pose as leaders, but in fact be imposters to the throne. Jewish mystical and spiritual thought would teach that rulers like Jesse, and Saul would be there to defend the land from external forces, but also Samuel, Amos, Zephaniah, Zedekiah, Messiah, and Elijah would be there to defend the land against internal threats.
Internal threats are false shepherds who appear to be fierce and strong in defense of the flock, but are either self-serving leaders who are interested in amassing their own fortune at the expense of the flock or are authoritarian rulers who abuse their own flock and ignore the real threats from outside. In the First Century many itinerate rabbis like Jesus agitated the people to defend themselves against false shepherds like King Herod and the Jerusalem elite. At the time of writing the Gospel of Mark, the power structure that held the Jews together had disintegrated. The puppet ruler, the Hasmonean dynasty had proven to their Roman puppet masters to be ineffective in maintaining control over the Jews. Rather than allow the riots, street violence, and the assassinations of collaborators escalate into a full rebellion, the Empire clamped down very hard on the Jewish people by disbanding the Sanhedrin, dismantling the Temple and expelling the educated class from Jerusalem. The Jewish people responded with full on resistance that climaxed in a bloody rebellion and the eventual military loss.
Given the Scriptural context for “shepherd,” our sanitized Christian notions of the bucolic life of a shepherd are challenged, especially as we re-read Psalm 23 with the notion of a strong, fierce protector leading us through a dark valley. It also challenges our notions of Jesus “mobilizing” the crowds. If Jesus assumes the role of the shepherd in the terms that he would have access to understanding, we would have to re-imagine his style of preaching and teaching as being more fierce than what we may have been led to believe. As we look at religious leadership today, might we ask ourselves, if our “shepherds” took on a more Scriptural posture of shepherding, what would congregations look like? And lastly, if we were to imagine our Sunday assemblies as a sukkah where we anticipate the “arrival” of the seven shepherds and the eight rulers of God’s people, would we ourselves be ready to take on the role of fierce leadership and prophetic challenge not only to take on external threats to our nation, but the internal threats from false shepherds? What would that mean in the context of today’s political ecosystem?
Weekly Intercessions According to Human Rights Watch populist/nativist politicians have gained quick appeal due to “mounting public discontent over the status quo.” Many people are fearful of all the changes brought on by globalism, technology and the changing demographic landscape. The unease has increased the sense that governing officials do not care about the lives of the common man and woman. Populists capitalize on this feeling and they pounce on the idea that the political class is an elite class of people out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people. Rather than take a careful look at social and political tensions, the populist politicians look for groups to blame for social problems. Popular targets are Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ folk and immigrants. Right wing populists portray themselves as the only ones that will protect “our way of life.” They will use code words that harken back to a non-existent time when all people were treated well, everyone was prosperous and that no one had any real worries. They call this non-existent utopia, the “good old days.” Using racist and hateful language, refugees, immigrant communities, and minorities “become” enemies. Taking lessons from history, we see how fascist governments have in the past presented themselves as speaking on behalf of the interests of the people by using intense propaganda. Through propaganda and the suppression of truth, right wing populists gained the veneer of acceptability by attacking critics and calling them “enemies of the state.” Then they went after the judicial branch that upheld the rule of law and then finally attacking the system of checks and balances that constrained the executive branch. Today (in Turkey, Israel, United States, Hungary, Austria and Sweden) we see history play itself out in the present. Let us pray for our country in the midst of a political crisis and we pray for civil rights activists that they not be constrained from fighting for truth and freedom.
Intercesiónes semanales Según Human Rights Watch, los políticos populistas / nativistas han obtenido un rápido atractivo debido al “creciente descontento público por el status quo”. Muchas personas temen todos los cambios provocados por el globalismo, la tecnología y el cambiante panorama demográfico. La inquietud ha aumentado la sensación de que los funcionarios gubernamentales no se preocupan por las vidas del hombre y la mujer común. Los populistas aprovechan este sentimiento y se abalanzan sobre la idea de que la clase política es una clase de élite que no está en contacto con las preocupaciones de la gente común. En lugar de echar un vistazo cuidadoso a las tensiones sociales y políticas, los políticos populistas buscan grupos a los que culpar por los problemas sociales. Los objetivos populares son judíos, musulmanes, personas LGBTQ e inmigrantes. Los populistas de derecha se describen a sí mismos como los únicos que protegerán “nuestra forma de vida”. Usarán palabras en clave que se remontan a un tiempo inexistente cuando todas las personas fueron bien tratadas, todos eran prósperos y nadie tenía un verdadero preocupaciones. Ellos llaman a esta utopía inexistente, los “buenos viejos tiempos”. Usando lenguaje racista y odioso, los refugiados, las comunidades de inmigrantes y las minorías “se vuelven” enemigos. Tomando de la historia en mano, vemos cómo los gobiernos fascistas en el pasado se han presentado a sí mismos hablando en nombre de los intereses de las personas mediante el uso de una intensa propaganda. A través de la propaganda y la supresión de la verdad, los populistas de derecha ganaron la apariencia de aceptabilidad atacando a los críticos y llamándolos “enemigos del estado”. Luego fueron tras la rama judicial que mantuvo el estado de derecho y finalmente atacaron el sistema de controles y equilibrios que restringieron la rama ejecutiva. Hoy (en Turquía, Israel, Estados Unidos, Hungría, Austria y Suecia) vemos que la historia se desarrolla en el presente. Oremos por nuestro país en medio de una crisis política y oremos por los activistas de los derechos civiles para que no se vean obligados a luchar por la verdad y la libertad.
Reflexión del domingo: Verdaderos Pastores El texto del evangelio de este domingo proviene de Marcos 6: 30-34. La primera lectura y el salmo amplifican Marcos 6:34, “Cuando desembarcó y vio la gran multitud, su corazón se conmovió de ellos, porque eran como ovejas sin pastor; y comenzó a enseñarles muchas cosas “. El pasaje del evangelio de hoy toma el tema de “pastor” debido al contexto litúrgico de emparejamiento de Jeremías 23: 1-6″ ¡Ay de los pastores que engañan y dispersan el rebaño de mi pasto … “ Y el Salmo 23,” El Señor es mi pastor…” Hoy veremos la comprensión judía de “pastor” como una forma de desentrañar el tema en curso de la Resistencia espiritual y ministerial al Imperio Romano.
En el judaísmo (y por extensión, el cristianismo) hay siete pastores (sin contar a Jesús como el Cristo). Ellos son: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, José, Moisés, Aarón y David. Según una antigua creencia espiritual judía, estos siete pastores se turnan para visitar la sucá (un refugio al aire libre construido para conmemorar el Festival de los Tabernáculos o Sucot. La naturaleza temporal del sucá es un recordatorio ritual de que el pueblo judío una vez tuvo que habitar en el “desierto” durante 40 años y esencialmente vivir bajo las estrellas). ¿Cuál sería entonces la importancia de que estos siete pastores visiten a las personas en sus sucá? Con la visita de cada “pastor,” la gente recordará que estos “pastores” ayudarán a guiar a la gente de Dios a la libertad. El profeta Miquéas profetizó que Dios levantará siete pastores para ayudar a llevar al pueblo de Dios a la libertad cuando el poderoso Imperio Asirio invada sus terrenos. Espiritual y místicamente se hace evidente que quienes levantan estos frágiles sucás son, de hecho, los mismos pastores. Aquellos que construyen las sucá son los agentes de su propia liberación. ¡Los fieles no son las ovejas, sino los pastores!
Como rabino, Jesús entendería la referencia al “pastor” en un contexto específico. Los pastores, tal como se los entendió en el Siglo I EC, eran fuertes y feroces protectores del rebaño. El pueblo judío, desde su llamado de Abraham a través del tiempo de Jesús (y hasta el día de hoy), es un pueblo que se aferra a la identidad de un pueblo peregrino, es decir, un pueblo en movimiento, que ha sido desplazado de su lugar de origen y están en un estado constante de afirmar y reafirmar su derecho a existir. En el contexto del Primer Siglo, la imagen de un pastor como un protector feroz se convierte en una figura de resistencia. Vemos esto en Marcos 6:34, “Cuando desembarcó y vio la gran multitud, su corazón se conmovió de ellos, porque eran como ovejas sin pastor; y comenzó a enseñarles muchas cosas “. La resistencia está en la construcción de capacidades de la gran multitud que era vulnerable al ataque. Estaban esperando al Mesías, el último pastor que los conduciría a una feroz batalla para reclamar su propia tierra del Imperio. Jesús, quien parece haber sido parte de la escuela espiritual y mística que enseñó la antigua lección de que los siete pastores del judaísmo eran realmente las personas mismas. Enseñarle a la gente “muchas cosas” daría como resultado el empoderamiento de uno mismo. Las personas se verían a sí mismas no como víctimas, sino como pastores que defenderían ferozmente al rebaño y establecerían seguridad para el pueblo.
El pueblo judío también es un pueblo de la tierra, es decir, un pueblo que está conectado a un lugar específico en la tierra en el que adoran a Dios y se preparan para ser una “Luz para los gentiles”. Antiguos místicos judíos nombraron ocho “príncipes” , es decir, los “ocho gobernantes.” Los místicos que estarían vinculados a la geografía fija del pueblo judío que salvaría al pueblo judío. Estos ocho gobernantes junto con los siete pastores aparecerían juntos en la sucá … y del mismo modo, estos gobernantes no serían figuras “mágicas”, sino las mismas personas. Estos gobernantes protegen a la gente no solo de los enemigos externos, sino también de los enemigos internos, es decir, de aquellos que se hacen pasar por líderes, pero que de hecho son impostores al trono. El pensamiento místico y espiritual judío enseñaría que los gobernantes como Jesé y Saúl estarían allí para defender la tierra de las fuerzas externas, pero también Samuel, Amós, Sofonías, Sedequías, el Mesías y Elías estarían allí para defender la tierra de las amenazas internas.
Las amenazas internas son falsos pastores que parecen ser fieros y fuertes en defensa del rebaño, pero son líderes egoístas que están interesados en amasar su propia fortuna a expensas del rebaño o son gobernantes autoritarios que abusan de su propio rebaño e ignoran las amenazas reales desde el exterior. En el Primer Siglo, muchos rabinos itinerantes como Jesús agitaban al pueblo para defenderse de los falsos pastores como el Rey Herodes y la élite de Jerusalén. En el momento de escribir el Evangelio de Marcos, la estructura de poder que mantenía unidos a los judíos se había desintegrado. El gobernante títere, la dinastía Hasmonea, había demostrado a sus “puppet masters” romanos que era ineficaz para mantener el control sobre los judíos. En lugar de permitir que los disturbios, la violencia callejera y los asesinatos de colaboradores se conviertan en una rebelión total, el Imperio presionó duramente al pueblo judío al disolver el Sanedrín, desmantelar el Templo y expulsar a la clase educada de Jerusalén. El pueblo judío respondió con plena resistencia que culminó en una sangrienta rebelión y la eventual pérdida militar.
Dado el contexto de las Escrituras para “pastor”, nuestras nociones cristianas desinfectadas de la vida bucólica de un pastor son desafiadas, especialmente cuando releemos el Salmo 23 con la noción de un protector fuerte y feroz que nos conduce a través de un valle oscuro. También desafía nuestras nociones de que Jesús “moviliza” a la multitud. Si Jesús asume el papel del pastor en los términos en que tendría acceso a la comprensión, tendríamos que volver a imaginar su estilo de predicación y enseñanza como más feroz de lo que nos han hecho creer. Al mirar hoy el liderazgo religioso, ¿podríamos preguntarnos, si nuestros “pastores” asumieran una postura más bíblica de pastoreo, cómo serían las congregaciones? Y, por último, si imagináramos nuestras asambleas dominicales como una sucá en donde anticipamos la “llegada” de los siete pastores y los ocho gobernantes del pueblo de Dios, ¿estaríamos nosotros mismos listos para asumir el papel de liderazgo feroz y desafío profético no solo para enfrentar amenazas externas a nuestra nación, ¿pero las amenazas internas de falsos pastores? ¿Qué significa eso en el contexto del ecosistema político actual?
Profiles in Courage: Resistance
Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, along with their best friend, Christoph Probst were in their early and mid-20’s when they were caught distributing essays condemning the Nazi government. After their execution, other students were caught and executed. Learn about their brave story of the White Rose in The White Rose (1970) by Inge Scholl, A Noble Treason (1979) by Richard Hanser, and An Honourable Defeat (1994) by Anton Gill.
The Nazis did not begin as a powerful political party. In the 1928 elections they were a far-right party of the margins with only 2.6% of the national vote. During the world wide Depression, the mood in Germany grew quite grim and millions of people were unemployed. Using propaganda that twisted historical facts, the Nazis created a message of hope by casting blame on Jews, Gypsies (both groups were seen as permanent immigrants, that is, people without proper “German” citizenship) and trade unions (who were labeled as socialists/liberals). The message was clear, “Make Germany great.” By the 1932 elections, Nazi’s gained 37.3% of the vote making them the largest political party. Hitler became chancellor via a questionable deal among a small group of conservative politicians who had aspirations that Hitler would bring about a return to conservative, authoritarian rule. Hitler outmaneuvered these politicians, consolidated power, changed the judiciary and wrote new laws that severely limited free speech, punished Jews, unionists, gypsies and LGBTQ persons. After WWII broke out, dissent was impossible. All dissenters were immediately imprisoned and executed. Only a few people chose to stand against the Nazi’s. The White Rose story stands as a living monument to the Resistance. History tells us that resistance must happen now. IMPORTANT FAQ LINK FROM ILRC REGARDING DACA ** (
Catholic Charities Zanker Road office offers Free DACA Clinics every Monday and Wednesday, from 9 am – 12:00 pm until further notice. Space is limited. For more information call (408) 944-0691. 2625 Zanker Road, San Jose, CA 95134 Free DACA renewals at Most Holy Trinity Parish every Friday 9:30am to 12:30 pm
Renovación de DACA en la Parroquia de Santisima Trinidad cada viernes 9:30am hasta 12:30 pm
2040 Nassau Drive, San José Simple immigration consults are also free.
Family Separation The issue of family separation continues to intensify with a number of congressional leaders condemning the increasing use of the tactic. The policy, originally announced on May 7th by the Trump Administration, calls for all families crossing the border to be prosecuted. The result of this policy means parents are incarcerated while their children are taken away and sent to family members or foster care centers for long periods of time.
In response to this practice, Catholic Charities USA President and CEO Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, wrote to the Secretary of Homeland Security expressing CCUSA’s opposition to the policy of separating children from parents.
“As a clinical psychologist, I have also seen the consequences that not having a parent can have on a child, and it is deeply troubling that the administration has chosen to create a generation of traumatized children in the name of border security. Surely as a nation we can debate the best way to secure our border without resorting to creating life-long trauma for children, some of whom are mere toddlers.” You can read the full letter ** here ( .
Join USCCB/Migration and Refugee Services and Catholic Charities USA today to help make a difference. Please email us at ** ( or ** ( with information and questions.
Five Ways To Help Stop Family Separation: 1. Pray: You can find a prayer for migrant children ** here ( . 2. Speak Up: Sign our ** Action Alert ( and share with your networks. Also consider contacting your senators and representative directly by phone to voice your concern. You can find the number for your representative ** here ( and your senators** here (AlmadenResearch.us1.list-mana

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