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Archive for April 16th, 2013

It has been a long while since I have posted a new icon. When I was younger, had fewer children, and didn’t have to work overtime I painted a couple of icons a month. These days, maybe three a year. Here is my latest:

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To Serve the Poor

From Gustavo Gutiérrez Merino, O.P., one of the fathers of liberation theology:

“You are a king?” Pilate asks Jesus in a passage from the Gospel of John that we will read this Easter. Jesus does not deny it, but states: “My kingdom is not of this world.” Pilate, cunning, is not deceived, and he says: “So you are a king?”. One issue is, rather, an assertion. Jesus agrees: “I am king.” That claim will cost lives. His accusers will use it to shout that this goes against the authority of the Roman emperor, and for that reason, and not unintentionally mocking, put the inscription INRI on the cross.
But what Jesus has meant to argue saying that his kingdom “not of this world ‘? Would it be a kingdom ahistorical, existing exclusively  beyond our time? According to the testimony of the gospels, the kingdom is present now among us, en route to completion, and Christ even taught us to pray “thy kingdom come”. Jesus tells Pilate that he is king, but in a very different realm that the governor represents. It is humble, not using power to dominate and defend privileges, but to serve. To serve, above all, to the least of society, the forgotten. Certainly, it requires effective means to transform situations that do not not respect the human dignity and human rights of the weak; it does constitute power, but from the teachings of the gospel, this must always be generous power and humble service. Not as “the great of this world” who “try despotically” and “abuse their power”. “Let it not be so among you,” Jesus told his disciples (Mark 10:42). A warning today to all, including the Church itself.
Remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus should be an occasion to breathe fully and experience the gift of life to celebrate these days. Do not let us win by being skeptical of the need for personal change and the possibility of building a just and humane society in which everyone has a dignified and fair life. Learning to be alert to all kinds of abuse and discrimination, and to be aware of the responsibility that our carelessness and guilt about ourselves can have on those facts, are prerequisites for a change. By renewing our hope in the Paschal Mystery we celebrate we renew also the ability to be aware of everything that violates human beings, images of God for a believer, for whom Jesus gave his life.
Pope Francisco just told us that he dreams of a “poor church and a church for the poor”; for that we need, as I also said, to acknowledge that the real power of the Church is to serve the poor. Are we, as Christians and as a church, willing to die to our own advantages and social considerations of solidarity with the poor, where we find Jesus Christ, who died and rose for all? If not, yet we went for Easter, it will not last for us.

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In my post yesterday about Pope Francis’ appointment of an advisory board, I mentioned a photo of Blessed John Paul II, which I always considered a visual summation of his spirit, at least when he was younger.  I also said that I could not find it  online. Well, googling “pope john paul II 1979” I found it:

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