Do not be afraid

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Holy Week 2018

In 2016, USA dropped 26.171 bombs in foreign countries worldwide. In perspective, America has been at war 93% of the time… that’s 225 years out of 242 years. This is a spiritual tragedy.

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Holy Week 2018

American Gun Peace

pray for peaceAs a spiritual person who believes in a power greater than myself and might pray/meditate/contemplate every now and then… I wonder what can I do about gun violence in America today?

I can reframe gun violence to gun peace in my head and heart and soul.

I can resign from the NRA.

I can pray for compromise, negotiation and cooperation between those at the discussion table. I can ask my rabbi, talk with my priest, chat with my minister, counsel with my iman. What do my friends think?

I can demand my politicians stop accepting gun lobby money directly and indirectly regardless of party affiliation. I can help make pro-gun money embarrassing to take and maybe even shameful to consider.

I can advocate for mandatory background checks for all public and private gun sales. Close gun sales loop holes. Register, tax and insure every gun in the USA.

I can write, email, fax, text or call my representatives to support a ban on  AR15’s from civilian ownership and designate them as military weapons of mass destruction.

I can talk about updating the 2nd Amendment to reflect real life today.  Times change. Guns change. People change. Maybe updated rules, regulations and licenses make sense now. Do gun laws need to evolve and update to protect public safety first and constitutional rights, second.

I can boycott corporations who support gun manufacturers directly and indirectly; overtly and covertly.

I can accept that my right to own a gun does not supersede anyone’s right to be safe.

I can meditate a little bit about the fact since 1968 more than 1.3 million Americans have died from gun violence. That’s more than in ALL of the wars in USA history combined.

I can feel anger and pain and confusion. I can get angry. I can be heard. I can get involved through church or community. I can act up and accept gun violence as a bigger problem in the USA than external terrorist threats.

I can accept that God is calling for my thoughtful and compassionate response. I might pray less. I could act more believing that gun violence is a pro life issue. I might examine my conscience, check my moral imperatives and reconfirm my belief in the value of the Golden Rule.

I can demand gun safety and public health law updates now because we deserve to be feel safe and secure. My kids matter… and so do yours.

I can do some or all of this simply because I believe it’s the right thing to do.

Peace be with you!

American Gun Peace

Jose y Maria

christmas jose y maria

“José y Maria” by Rev. James Martin, SJ

The “scandal” of Christmas, as theologians call it, is that God became a person. Think of how shocking that must have sounded to people used to either the God of the Old Testament, the great and mysterious “I AM,” or the Greek philosophers’ conception of God—for example, Aristotle’s “Thought thinking thought.” But on the first Christmas, God entered the world in a particular time and a particular place and as a particular person: Jesus in first-century Galilee. That’s why this contemporary image of the Holy Family, “José y Maria,” by Everett Patterson, seems so perfect to me. Were God to enter the world today, it would be into a family more like this than the ones we see on Christmas cards. For one thing, the Holy Family wasn’t white. For another, they weren’t rich. Finally, they weren’t powerful. But there’s another reason I like this image, beyond the many clever visual puns. In his adult years, Jesus told us that what we do to the “least” of our brothers and sisters, we do to him. So when we see a poor family, a refugee family, a migrant family, we actually are seeing the Holy Family. Jesus resides there. The contemporary “scandal” of Christmas, then, is also a theological one: Why so many of us turn him away from our hearts, and decide, like the innkeeper in the Nativity story, that there is “no room” for him. If you make room in your heart for the Jesus of the Christmas cards, can you make room for the Jesus who presents himself to you today?

(Image: “José y Maria,” everettpatterson.com)

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