The greatest accomplishments of humanity, in every race and time, have been achieved in the name of family, religion or homeland. Similarly, the greatest atrocities throughout history and in all cultures have also been committed in the name of family, religion or homeland.
Religious believers affirm that all human beings have been created by God in his infinite intelligence. The diversity of races is part of the wisdom of God, created to add beauty to our humanity.
The Word of God was made flesh in Jesus to teach us the great dignity of being human and to give us a new vision of these three treasures of family, religion and homeland. After being praised for his family origins, Jesus replies, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:28) And he insists that his true family members are those who do the will of His Father. (see Matthew 12:46-50)
The life and ministry of Jesus allow us to learn and experience that we are all children of the same Creator and Father. We are all siblings, and he loves us equally and to such a degree that he accepted an unjust and shameful death sentence in order to create a new, universal fraternity; a new, universal homeland; and a new relationship with God that makes us all worshippers “in Spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
The laws of genetics cause us to transmit our physical features to our blood relatives. The cultural influence and environment in which we live make us adopt characteristics of language and customs that identify us as members of a certain group called tribe, clan, nation, state, kingdom or country.
In order to protect the treasures of family, religion and homeland, we have created all kinds of organizations to preserve our values and beliefs. At the same time, we also adopt radical positions that hinder harmony and create a disruptive distance between us, contrary to the original plan of the Creator.
Upon rising victorious from the tomb, Jesus sent the apostles and all of his disciples to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) Those who believe in these new, imperishable treasures will be saved from inner death, the death of the soul.
The Passover of Jesus makes us capable of becoming citizens of the heavenly homeland, where each citizen cheerfully shows and certifies their blood relationship that makes us family. That divine blood, running through the veins of our souls, makes us sing when we discover each other to be siblings by our shared characteristics of service, forgiveness, solidarity, perseverance and optimism.
St. Paul says that we carry these treasures “in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) When we allow God to do his work through us, he does great wonders as he did with the apostles and with all the women and men we consider saints. God shows us the wonder of these treasures, but also helps us to understand the risks of not using them properly — the terrible tragedy of losing them to the detriment of everyone around us. The loss of these treasures provokes violence, greed, racism, indifference and a distancing from our common Father.
May the immeasurable faith of Mary encourage us to proclaim the wonders of God, give us the confidence to be more like her son Jesus, and make us capable, by the power of his blood, of walking toward the homeland that he bequeathed to us, the only true homeland without borders.
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - November 2018
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.Website: www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Archdiocese/auxiliaries.aspx