Weekly Communique: Love is Faith in Action

Catholic Charities Grupo de Solidaridad               

May 3, 2019


This week’s Misa de Solidaridad
May 5 at 9 am
Newman Chapel
Corner of San Carlos and 10th Sts. 

5 de Mayo!

La próxima Misa de Solidaridad 
5 de mayo a las 9 am
Capilla Newman
Esquina de las calles San Carlos y 10

Parishioners at Our Lady of Refuge participate in our “Poverty Simulation” as part of Accompaniment Training. Participants learn about the various challenges people face each day. Many participants themselves live these challenges in their own lives.

Reflection: Love is Faith in Action 
Last week we covered Jn 20: 19-31. In that selection the disciples locked themselves in a room hoping that the authorities would pass over them but in spite of all the precautions they took to keep themselves safe, Jesus-as-the Risen Christ appeared to them proclaiming peace.  In short, Jesus-as-the Risen Christ imposed himself on his fearful disciples and challenged them to try on shalom as a way to break themselves out of their fear. Recall the passage from the Ta’anit (from ancient Rabbinic literature) that taught, ““By three things the world is preserved, by justice, by truth, and by peace, and these three are one: if justice has been accomplished, so has truth, and so has peace.” Jesus-as-the Risen Christ was calling his disciples to rise up and become the shalom to others. Today’s passage, Jn 21:1-19, serves as a kind of “epilogue” to the gospel. A minority opinion from scholars assert that Chapter 21 was written by someone other than the evangelist John; however, there is no evidence that would show that the gospel ended with Chapter 20.  It would appear that Chapter 21 was always included as a part of the body of the gospel, but perhaps the chapter is set at a much later date, indicating that some time has passed between the appearance to the apostles and the encounter with Jesus-as-the Risen Christ on the beach.

The gospel text indicates that the disciples were fishing which suggests that the disciples had gotten over their fear of being identified as disciples of Jesus and that they had returned to their former way of life. In the narrative Jesus-as-the Risen Christ appeared to the disciples yet no one recognized him until he told them to cast their nets to the “other side” of the boat. The disciples went along with the suggestion and they were overwhelmed with what they caught. At that moment the unnamed disciple whom Jesus loved (the identity of the unnamed disciple is associated with the evangelist himself), declared, “It is the Lord!”  (Jn 21:7) The inclusion of the unnamed disciple’s gut reaction to knowing Jesus’ identity in these verses further underscores the idea that knowing that Jesus-as-the Risen Christ is in our midst is accessed through a relational intimacy with the Christ himself. 

The reaction of Simon Peter further underscores the concept of the power of relationship. Peter held some kind of leadership over the other disciples. (see Jn 21:3.  “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We also will come with you.’”). This leadership; however, took a back seat to the insight of the unnamed disciple. Note that in Jn 21:7 Simon Peter heard that the person who directed the men to cast their nets to the right side of the boat was Jesus-as-the Risen Christ, he jumped into the water and hauled the boat of fish to the shore.  The curious inclusion of the specific number of fish is interesting. The evangelist John seems to have more than a mere casual acquaintance with Jewish mysticism.  Throughout John’s gospel, certain phrases and vocabulary suggest that the evangelist was using common language and concepts familiar to the Essences. (The Essenes were an important Jewish mystical sect that were numerous throughout Judaea and had lived in communal groups practicing poverty, daily immersion and asceticism and some of them even practiced celibacy.  Some contemporary scholars have made the case that one can see the fingerprint of Essene thought and practice in John’s gospel and the Book of Revelation and the three letters of John.) One example of this possible influence is the specific reference to the 153 fish in Jn 21: 11: “So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three* large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.” 

Understanding the meaning of numbers was and is an important feature of Jewish life. Gematria, the art of understanding numbers, is a way to understand God for each number is assigned a particular meaning or holds a special symbolism for a greater mystery. If we accept that the Essenes yielded influence over the evangelist John and that the evangelist was specific about the number of fish caught and brought to shore, then we might ask, “What might be the evangelist’s intent?  What was the evangelist trying to communicate?”  Early scripture scholars like St. Jerome, believed that the great number of fish was linked to Ezekiel’s prophecy (Ez 47:10, “And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many…” ) Most Christian scholars have accepted St. Jerome’s interpretation that the number of fish that the disciples caught represents the apostles gathering all the nations together.  St. Augustine made note that 153 is a “triangle” of 17, meaning that the sum of all natural numbers from one to the triangle of the number:1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17=153.  (Some scholars have applied Jewish numerology methods to texts as a way to see the deeper meaning.  For example, in Jn 21: 11 one looks at the root word, “gedi,” from engedi and Eglaim, (see Ezekial 47:10) one finds that gedi is the 153rd word in Ezekiel 47 and that the numerical value for gedi in the name “Engedi” adds up to 17 and that the numerical value for the word, eglaim in the name, “Eneglaim” adds up to 153. While this would seem coincidental, note that the image of flowing waters in Ezekiel 47 is also found in Jn 7:38, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water….” and Jn 19:34, “One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”) 

The study of the number 153 when connected to the narrative of the unnamed disciple suggests that if there is an intimate connection to Jesus-as-the Risen Christ there will be a large return. In verses 15-19 Jesus-as-the Risen Christ interrogated Simon Peter: Did Simon Peter love Christ? What Christ’s intent in asking Simon Peter again and again the same question? In Jewish teaching “love” is not understood as having emotional attachment toward a person, but rather doing the right thing for the person.  To “love” the immigrant does not mean I eat taco salads, but rather, to not exploit and profit from the blood of the immigrant. (See Dt 6).  Rabbinic literature teaches that love is a series of mandated behaviors from the Torah that require us to not merely refrain from mistreating others, but to proactively do things that would protect the life of others and to welcome others into the community.  The culture of the Empire did not codify ethical behavior in the same way as the Jewish custom. Judaism, unlike the Empire, was focused on personal integrity and the civil rights, especially the effect on how public decisions make an impact on those who were marginalized. Jesus-as-the Risen Christ responded when Peter responded, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  The Christ amplified Simon Peter’s response in a manner consistent with Jewish teaching, “Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.” It was not enough to have emotional attachment to the Risen Christ, one had to have commitment to others, even to the point of surrendering one’s life in the face of possible death.  (c.f., Jn 21:18).  Only after Jesus explained the true meaning of “love,” did Simon Peter say, “Follow me.”  One cannot follow Christ unless one is fully engaged in the well-being of others.

As Christians we should be careful about our use of language around “love,” especially when Christians are quick to condemn, excommunicate or belittle others for their theology, life choices in partnership and family, and manner of worship. When Christians speak of love in terms of personal fondness and emotional attachment rather than in terms of how we actually speak about and treat others, it allows Christians to say and do horrible things to others while maintaining that they “love” Christ. For example, recall  Franklin Graham, a strong Trump supporter and public religious figure, criticizing Mayor Pete Buttigieg and calling Buttigieg’s faith into question because Mayor Pete is gay. Franklin’s remarks caught many people’s attention because he remained silent when Donald Trump separated families at the border and neglected the well being of children at the border by putting toddlers and teens into cages and placing minors into the custody of sadists who raped and tortured the children while they were in immigrant detention. Like Peter, it is not enough to say “Jesus, I love you.”  We must show that love in the way we tend and feed others around us. 

Weekly Intercessions
A couple of weeks ago a man plowed into a group of people in Sunnyvale because he thought that those people were Mus- lim. Last week a man entered into a synagogue in Poway and opened fire on worshippers. The Sunnyvale man suffered PTSD and was highly susceptible to suggestions from people in authority. A 2017 study published in the Association for Psychological Science showed that PTSD victims are at risk of producing false memories and acting on those memories when exposed to information that is related to their own ex- perience. In this man’s case, public statements and speeches that categorize Muslims as enemies of the people somehow triggered within him a reaction to act on an inner impulse of hatred toward people who were Muslim. The man who ente- red Chabad Synagogue with the intent to kill the congregants was inspired by the shooter at the ChristChurch Mosque. The Poway killer was a member of an evangelical church whe- re his father served as a leader in the congregation. The Sout- hern Poverty Law Center said that the increased profile of hate groups on social media is a significant factor in the in- crease of Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism. Online sites like Info-Wars and television personalities like Tucker Carlson, raise the alarm that the nation is under attack from immi- grants, LGBTQ, refugees, Muslims, Jews, etc… Facebook has finally responded to the calls from millions of users to take down those who promote hate: accounts from Louis Farrak- han, Alex Jones. Milo Yiannopoulos, and other extremists have been permanently closed as a way to curtain the influen- ce of hate groups in the public square. Our society is already permeated by racism and xenophobia. Social media merely amplifies that what people already believe. While there is no quick or easy fix to the sorry state of civil discourse, we should nonetheless support Facebook’s initial measures to reduce the hate speech on its own platform. Our role as members of the faith community is to patrol our own langua- ge and actions within our communities. Our preachers must choose their words carefully, our religious education teachers must look at content more closely, and our parish communi- ties must be places of unconditional welcome and support of all people. Let us pray for those caught up in a cycle of hate and intolerance and for those who work to bring healing to the victims of hate crimes.​

Intercesiónes semanales
Hace dos semanas, un hombre se lanzó contra un grupo de personas en Sunnyvale porque pensaba que esas personas eran musulmanas. La semana pasada, un hombre entró en una sinagoga en Poway y trato a matar la gente adentro. El hombre de Sunnyvale sufrió TEPT y fue altamente susceptible a las sugerencias de personas con autoridad. Un estudio de 2017 publicado en la Asociación para la Ciencia Psicológica mostró que las víctimas de TEPT corren el riesgo de producir memorias falsos y actuar sobre esos recuerdos cuando están expuestos a información relacionada con su propia experiencia. En el caso de este hombre, las declaraciones y discursos públicos que categorizan a los musulmanes como enemigos de la gente de alguna manera desencadenaron en su interior una reacción para actuar en un impulso interno de odio hacia las personas que eran musulmanes. El hombre que entró en la Sinagoga de Jabad con la intención de matar a los feligreses se inspiró en el tirador de la Mezquita de Christchurch, NZ. El asesino de Poway era miembro de una iglesia evangélica donde su padre servía como líder en la congregación. El Southern Poverty Law Center dijo que el mayor perfil de los grupos de odio en las redes sociales es un factor importante en el aumento de la islamofobia y el antisemitismo. Sitios en línea como Info- Wars y personalidades de la televisión como Tucker Carlson, dan la alarma de que la nación está siendo atacada por inmigrantes, LGBTQ, refugiados, musulmanes, judíos, etc. Facebook finalmente ha respondido a las llamadas de millones de usuarios para eliminarlos que promueven el odio: relatos de Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones. Milo Yiannopoulos y otros extremistas han sido cerrados permanentemente como una forma de ocultar la influencia de grupos de odio en el zocalo. Nuestra sociedad ya está permeada por el racismo y la xenofobia. Las redes sociales simplemente amplifican lo que la gente ya cree. Si bien no existe una solución rápida o fácil para el lamentable estado del discurso civil, todavía debemos respaldar las medidas iniciales de Facebook para reducir el discurso de odio en su propia plataforma. Nuestro papel como miembros de la comunidad de fe es patrullar nuestro propio lenguaje y acciones dentro de nuestras comunidades. Nuestros predicadores deben elegir sus palabras con cuidado, nuestras catequistas deben analizar el contenido más detenidamente y nuestras comunidades parroquiales deben ser lugares de bienvenida y apoyo incondicionales para todas las personas. Oremos por aquellos atrapados en un ciclo de odio e intolerancia y por aquellos que trabajan para llevar la sanación a las víctimas de los delitos de odio.​

Reflexión sobre el Evangelio: Amor es Fe en Acción

La semana pasada cubrimos Jn 20: 19-31. En esa selección, los discípulos se encerraron en una habitación con la esperanza de que las autoridades los pasaran por alto, pero a pesar de todas las precauciones que tomaron para mantenerse a salvo, Jesús-como-el-Cristo Resucitado, se les apareció proclamando la paz. En resumen, Jesús-como-el-Cristo Resucitado se impuso a sus temerosos discípulos y los desafió a probar shalom como una manera de librarse de su miedo. Recuerde el pasaje de la Ta’anit (de la antigua literatura rabínica) que enseñó: “Por tres cosas, el mundo se preserva, por la justicia, por la verdad y por la paz, y estas tres son una: si se ha hecho justicia, así tiene verdad, y también la paz ”.Jesús-como-el-Cristo Resucitado estaba llamando a sus discípulos a levantarse y convertirse en shalom para los demás. El pasaje de hoy, Jn 21: 1-19, sirve como una especie de “epílogo” al evangelio. Una opinión minoritaria de los estudiosos afirma que el Capítulo 21 fue escrito por alguien que no es el evangelista Juan; sin embargo, no hay evidencia que muestre que el evangelio terminó con el Capítulo 20. Parece que el Capítulo 21 siempre se incluyó como parte del cuerpo del Evangelio, pero tal vez el capítulo se establezca en una fecha muy posterior, lo que indica que Ha pasado algún tiempo entre la aparición de los apóstoles y el encuentro con Jesús-como-el-Cristo Resucitado en la playa.

El texto del evangelio indica que los discípulos estaban pescando, lo que sugiere que los discípulos habían superado su temor de ser identificados como discípulos de Jesús y que habían regresado a su forma de vida anterior. En la narración Jesús-como-el-Cristo Resucitado se apareció a los discípulos, pero nadie lo reconoció hasta que les dijo que arrojaran sus redes al “otro lado” de la barca. Los discípulos aceptaron la sugerencia y quedaron abrumados con lo que capturaron. En ese momento, el discípulo anónimo a quien Jesús amaba (la identidad del discípulo anónimo se asocia con el evangelista mismo), declaró: “¡Es el Señor!” (Jn 21, 7) La inclusión de la reacción de los discípulos anónimos al conocer la identidad de Jesus en estos versículos subraya aún más la idea de que el acceso a Jesús-como-el-Cristo Resucitado está en nuestro medio a través de una intimidad relacional con el mismo Cristo.

El estudio del número 153 cuando está conectado a la narrativa del discípulo anónimo sugiere que si hay una conexión íntima con Jesús-como-el-Cristo Resucitado, habrá un gran retorno. En los versículos 15-19, Jesús-como-el-Cristo Resucitado interrogó a Simón Pedro: ¿Me Amó Pedro?” Me quieres, Pedro?  ¿Cuál fue la intención de Cristo al preguntarle a Simón Pedro una y otra vez la misma pregunta? En la enseñanza judía, el “amor” no se entiende como tener un vínculo emocional con una persona, sino hacer lo correcto para la persona. “Amar” al inmigrante no significa que yo coma ensaladas de tacos, sino más bien, no explotar y sacar provecho de la sangre del inmigrante. (Ver Dt 6). La literatura rabínica enseña que el amor es una serie de comportamientos obligatorios de la Torá que requieren que no nos limitemos a no maltratar a los demás, sino a hacer cosas de manera pro-activa que protejan la vida de los demás y que recibamos a otros en la comunidad. La cultura del Imperio no codificaba el comportamiento ético de la misma manera que la costumbre judía. El judaísmo, a diferencia del Imperio, estaba centrado en la integridad personal y los derechos civiles, especialmente el efecto sobre cómo las decisiones públicas tienen un impacto en los marginados. Jesús-como-el-Cristo Resucitado respondió cuando Pedro respondió: “Sí, Señor, tú sabes que te amo”. El Cristo amplificó la respuesta de Simón Pedro de una manera consistente con la enseñanza judía: “Alimenta a mis corderos”. “Alimentar a mis ovejas”. No era suficiente tener un vínculo emocional con el Cristo resucitado, uno tenía que comprometerse con los demás, incluso hasta el punto de entregar la propia vida ante la posible muerte. (c.f., Jn 21:18). Solo después de que Jesús explicó el verdadero significado de “amor”, dijo Simón Pedro: “Sígueme”. Uno no puede seguir a Cristo a menos que esté completamente comprometido con el bienestar de los demás.

Como cristianos, debemos tener cuidado con nuestro uso del lenguaje en torno al “amor”, especialmente cuando los cristianos son rápidos para condenar, excomulgar o menospreciar a los demás por su teología, opciones de vida en sociedad y familia, y la liturgia. Cuando los cristianos hablan de amor en términos de afecto personal y apego emocional en lugar de en términos de cómo realmente hablamos y tratamos a los demás, les permite a los cristianos decir y hacer cosas horribles a los demás mientras mantienen que “aman” a Cristo. Por ejemplo, recuerde a Franklin Graham, un fuerte partidario de Trump y una figura religiosa pública, que critica al alcalde Pete Buttigieg y cuestiona la fe de Buttigieg porque el alcalde Pete es gay. Las declaraciones de Franklin atrajeron la atención de muchas personas porque permaneció en silencio cuando Donald Trump separó a las familias en la frontera y descuidó el bienestar de los niños en la frontera al poner a los niños pequeños y adolescentes en jaulas y poner a los menores bajo la custodia de sádicos que violaron y torturaron a los niños mientras Estaban en detención de inmigrantes. Al igual que Pedro, no es suficiente decir “Jesús, te amo”. Debemos mostrar ese amor en la forma en que cuidamos y alimentamos a los demás a nuestro alrededor.

A federal appeals court just ruled against Trump on DACA! 


Training Sessions-Capacitaciones 

Catholic Charities Parish Engagement program is looking for a group of dedicated volunteers to embark on a transformational journey of accompanying our brothers and sisters who are most in need. Over the span of a 4 month program, you will be paired with a fellow parishioner who is deeply in need of your compassion, your ability to listen, and your help in finding the right resources. 

English Training Sessions: May 7th and 21st, and June 4th.
7 pm – 9:00 pm

El programa de Participación Parroquial de Caridades Católicas está
buscando un grupo de voluntarios dedicados para embarcarse en un viaje de transformación para acompañar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas más necesitados. En el transcurso de un programa de 4 meses, se le emparejará con un feligrés compañero que está profundamente necesitado de su compasión, su capacidad de escuchar y su ayuda para encontrar los recursos adecuados.

Capacitación en Español : 14 y 28 de mayo y 11 de junio 
7 pm – 9:00 pm

Grupo Solidaridad is a part of an on-going community project of Catholic Charities’ division, Advocacy and Community Engagement.  For more information on how to get involved in Grupo Solidaridad, its activities or other groups associated with Grupo Solidaridad, contact Fr. Jon Pedigo at

Grupo Solidaridad es parte de un proyecto comunitario en curso de la división de Caridades Católicas, Advocacy and Community Engagement (Abogar y Compromiso Comunitario). Para obtener más información sobre cómo participar en Grupo Solidaridad, sus actividades u otros grupos asociados con Grupo Solidaridad, comuníquese con el P. Jon Pedigo en

Images from May Day 2019. Grupo Solidaridad and dozens of other organizations and people from Labor, Students, Mayfair Collective, LUNA, Sacred Heart Community Service, PACT and educators participated in the march.

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