Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.
We are living in a complicated world where violence, inequality, prejudice, and hate are escalating in scandalous ways. Confronting that reality, we ask ourselves: where is hope? The recent school tragedy in Parkland, Florida reminds us that as a people of hope our strength lies in our belief in God.
Mark’s gospel was written in a time of political convulsion and social instability. The destruction of the temple and the defeat of Israel’s liberation movements created a big crisis and made people ask where hope was. At the same time, Jesus lived in the midst of social turmoil that produced several messianic movements that pretended to answer the lack of hope of their times. The apocalyptic tone of Mark is a reminder that hopelessness will end: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near.” But where is that kingdom? Probably, Jesus knew that it was a difficult question to answer, and maybe because of that, and before his ministry started, he confronted evil in the loneliness of the wilderness. Jesus’ call was to help people to discover God’s face in the midst of poverty and violence unmasking the easy answers of the religious and political establishments.
In the narrative of Genesis, we discover an amazing story of God making the following commitment: “…and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” This is not a promise that no more bad things will happen on our planet. Maybe it is a divine promise to control the easy answers to be almighty and instead proclaim to all of us: you are my
daughters / sons, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.
In a certain way during Lent, the Christian world generates speeches of God that masquerade the kingdom…a kingdom that is in the midst of our deepest contradictions, that is as fragile as a child soldier, as a transgender woman, or as a raped woman. God is calling us today: “you are my daughters / sons, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.” We should go to the wilderness to confront the evil inside us and then return to find God’s face in the midst of conflict and contradictions.
During Lent, we endeavor to pull off all those masks we use to try to cover up our weaknesses. We peel off the layers of untruth, of fear, of sin. Scripture tells us that somewhere behind all of that is the very image of God. And there, waiting for us, is Jesus’ saving work, reminding us that: “But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy.”