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May 28, 2017


Dear Friends:

Tonight, May 27, I am a happy man. I will enjoy a sweet and peaceful sleep.

Tonight, I was invited by the leader of the Guatemalan Prayer Group, at my Franciscan parish of St. Mark’s, to share a reflection with them. It was a long night. The prayer meeting ran from 8 PM to 10 PM. I shared with them NT texts on the humanity of Jesus: Jn 11: 33-38, Mark 15: 39, 1 Cor 1: 18-28, and other related periscopes.

There were about 35-40 people participating in the celebration. They were all pure indigenous Maya Canjobal or other kin groups, most likely from the jungles of El Peten, or perhaps moving across the border with Mexico into Chiapas. I was the only Caucasian-looking person in the assembly.

The meeting started with a wonderful symphonic cacophony of loud, very loud individual prayer by 18 leaders of the group, praying in 18 different ways. Then Gaspar, the leader, introduced me. He said: “Our brother Sixto, is here with us tonight. He is the servant (“siervo”) sent by God to convey His Word to us.”

The SERVANT!! I was struck by that word. It was again invoked when they call me forth to speak. I have never been introduced like that to a community I am invited to speak to. It is usually “Doctor this,” or “Professor that,” but, SERVANT? SIERVO? I could not get it out of my mind and heart.

I felt a rush of peace and joy welling up inside my heart. What a gift, what a joy, to be called SERVANT! What a glorious, paschal title! SERVANT!! For, let us not make any mistake (God knows how often I have made that mistake!): any other self-perception we may have of ourselves, is a chimera, a motion from the evil spirit, as St. Ignatius of Loyola would say. Anything else is nothing but a cheapened version of Docetism – As we know, “Docetism” was a doctrine that made its disastrous presence felt in the early Church. Docetism argued that the humanity of Christ was an optical illusion (from the Greek “dokein,” to appear, to have an optical illusion).

Docetism and its related heresies against the humanity of Christ (Apollinarism, Monophysitism, Monothelism, and others) have never fully disappeared. As Karl Rahner has reminded us, they survive and even flourish in our parishes, whenever well-meaning but fundamentally ignorant parish Catholics recoil at the thought that Jesus could really suffer, could come close to despair, could feel anger at injustice, etc. It’s a convenient heresy. A unilateral emphasis on the divinity of Jesus at the expense of his humanity, is often invoked to justify clericalism, power-plays and racisms within the Church.

I need not insult your intelligence by reminding you how the 3rd , 4th, and 6th Ecumenical Councils (Ephesus, 431; Chalcedon, 451;  Constantinople III, 680-681) responded, swiftly, deeply and prophetically, to this dangerous mutilation or denial of the humanity of Jesus

That is all we are called to be: SERVANTS! To all, but preferentially to the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the despised migrants, the discarded . . . Servants!!

Again, my friends, let me reiterate this: tonight, I am a very happy man. I had a badly needed reminder, a moment of paschal conversion. I AM A SERVANT!! What a glorious title!

Tonight, I will sleep sweetly and peacefully, reclining my head within the Heart of Jesus, reposing in the fold of Mary’s mantle, in the cradle of her arms.

Oremus pro invicem


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