Saturday, November 22, 2014

Homily by Olga Lucia Alvarez ARCWP: Liturgy at SOA Watch Vigil at Ft. Benning, GA.

From left to right: ARCWP Priests: Olga Lucia Alvarez, Janice Severe-Duszynska, and Katy Zatsick 
(photos taken by Barbara Zeman, RCWP)
(The huge Center Hall of the Convention Center was nearly filled to capacity. People who came
up to talk had tears in their eyes, saying that this is the kind of liturgy they've been waiting
for all of their lives...
We are grateful for Olga being with us and her strong and touching homily. We are also much appreciative
of Judith Bautista's poem, "From Below," which Olga selected as the reading. Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP)

I’ll never believe without putting my finger in the nail marks and my hand into the spear wound.”  John 20: 25

Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea ARCWP
Translated by John P. Wentland

The Gospel text we just heard leaves me disturbed and makes me reflect basically on various aspects: the fear, the cowardice of the disciples and the honesty of Thomas.

We notice in the text that the disciples are hiding in an unknown place, with the doors firmly closed, we're never told where, or at least the text doesn’t tell us.

Many of us are locked in, paralyzed, full of fear and cowardice. We wait for an announcement from heaven… Only the presence of Jesus through the Ruah [ ר֫וּחַ ] of God is able to dislodge us from the situation of terror, pessimism and distrust. We have to discover his presence within each of us, an attitude which will help to fulfill our heartfelt desires in a commitment, not only of word but with concrete action.   
Thomas, called “Twin”—known as well as “The Doubter”—offers us the principal key to how, as disciples, we can implement our work of actual commitment.  
Thomas was not hiding; he was outside confronting the dangers of the enemy, and encountering the material and sociological terrorism. He was not living some kind of utopian dream, full of some fantastic illusion.
Thomas not only challenged the disciples; his challenge is also for all of us when he says: “

I’ll never believe without putting my finger in the nail marks and my hand into the spear wound.”  John 20: 25
from left to right: Olga Lucia Alvarez, seated Janice Sevre-Dusynska, Katy Zatsick



Thomas invites us to become aware of the reality we live in this world, in our countries; wars popping up mercilessly against innocent people. He invites us to not only see, but to touch, live and feel the pain, of the ones suffering, living in prison, tortured physically and psychologically. Knowing the reality of the immigrant, the displaced, those without family, without home, those sick, the unemployed, the marginalized, those abandoned, the hungry, those without health, without education. Knowing the situation faced by women and men, excluded because of for their sexual or gender option, those rejected and excluded for thinking differently!
Every suffering human being is a Christ who shows us, his extended, his feet, the wound in his side and his tortured body, so that we might put our finger and feel completely their pain and sorrow, making them our own, healing them with our sisterly and brotherly love.
May we accept Thomas’ invitation to live the Gospel challenge.
Let us present at the Offertory, our cowardice, our indifference, our fears, in the face of the obvious actions—violations of human rightscarried out by our governments, actions that wound, mistreat and kill our indigenous peoples, our peasants, our black populations, our elderly, our defenseless and innocent women and children. Their only sin is to live amongst such over-abundance. That's why they are displaced, threatened and killed so that their lands can be appropriated just as King Ahab took over the vineyard of Naboth (1 Kings 21).
In our country, this is what we live every day, and not because that’s what the media tells us, because, after all, to them, everything is a "false positive"—the opposite of the little boy who cried “Wolf”, they say “Everything’ll be fine!” This experienced pain comes directly by word of the widows, the elderly, the faces of the women and children we see on the streets of our cities, sitting at the foot of a traffic light begging for a piece of bread, with a sign proclaiming: "We are displaced from the violence!” whether they be in Cauca, Uraba, Caquetá, Chocó, the areas we know where are located U.S. military bases, where the two flags—our Colombian tri-color and the U.S. red-white-and-blue—wave so closely in unison. If you hold out your hand to these suffering people, you are likely to be  identified as someone who is helping the armed opposition groups. Of this no one says anything; there is no commentary, no questions, for fear of receiving "a stray bullet."
What are we about to offer at our Offertory? Let’s share publicly that we are going to offer in our Eucharist the making real and living his presence through that invitation Jesus offers us each day, touching and healing all injustice and sorrow:  
“Do this in memory of me”   1 Cor. 11:24



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“SI NO METO MI DEDO EN LA SEÑAL DEJADA POR LOS CLAVOS Y MI MANO EN LA HERIDA DEL COSTADO NO LO CREERÉ”
Juan 20: 25

 Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea ARCWP
El Evangelio que acabamos de escuchar, me deja inquieta y me hace reflexionar fundamentalmente, en varios aspectos: el miedo, la cobardía de los discípulos y la honestidad y compromiso de Tomás.
Observamos en el texto que los discípulos estaban escondidos en un lugar desconocido, con las puertas bien cerradas, nunca se supo dónde, por lo menos el texto no nos lo dice.
Muchos de nosotros/as, estamos encerrados/as paralizados/as llenos de miedo y cobardía. Esperando un anuncio del Cielo… Solo la presencia de Jesús a través del soplo de la Ruah, es capaz de sacarnos de esta situación de terror, de pesimismo, desconfianza. Tenemos que descubrir su presencia en el interior de cada uno/a de nosotros, actitud que nos ayudará a llevar a cabo nuestros sinceros deseos en el compromiso, no solo de palabra sino con hechos concretos.
Tomás, el llamado “Mellizo”, conocido también como el incrédulo, nos da la clave principal, para que discípulas y discípulos podamos realizar nuestro trabajo de compromiso real.
Tomás, no estaba escondido, él estaba afuera desafiando los peligros del enemigo y desafiando ese terrorismo material y sicológico. Él no estaba viviendo de utopías, ilusiones o fantasías.
Tomás, no solo  retó  a los discípulos, discípulas, también el reto es para todos/as nosotras/os, cuando dijo:
“Si no meto mi dedo en la señal dejada por los clavos y mi mano en la herida del costado, no lo creeré” Juan 20:25
Tomás, nos invita a tomar conciencia de la realidad que vivimos en este mundo, en nuestros países; las guerras que brotan sin piedad contra seres inocentes.  Nos invita a no solo mirar, sino a tocar, vivir y sentir, el dolor, del ser sufriente que vive en una cárcel, torturado/a, física y psicológicamente. Conocer la realidad del inmigrante, del desplazado, sin familia, sin hogar, enfermo/a, sin empleo, marginado/a, abandonado/a, con hambre, sin salud, sin educación. Conocer la situación que viven mujeres y hombres, excluidos/as por su opción sexual o de género. Rechazados/as y excluidos/as por pensar diferente!
Cada ser humano sufriente, es un Cristo que nos muestra, extendiendo sus manos, sus pies, la herida de su costado y su cuerpo torturado, para que metamos nuestro dedo, palpemos su dolor y tristeza haciéndola nuestra, curándole y sanándole con amor en sororidad fraterna.
Aceptemos la invitación de Tomás que nos desafía a vivir el Evangelio.
Presentemos en el Ofertorio, nuestras cobardías, nuestra indiferencia, nuestros miedos, ante los hechos palpables de nuestros gobiernos, que hieren, maltratan y asesinan a nuestros indígenas, campesinos, afros, ancianos, mujeres y niños indefensos e inocentes. Su único pecado es vivir en la abundancia. Por eso les desplazan, amenazan y asesinan para hurtarles sus tierras al igual que lo hiciera el rey Ajab, con la viña de Nabot (1 Reyes 21).
En nuestro país, esto es lo que vivimos a diario, y no porque nos lo digan los Noticieros, ya que para ellos, todo es “un falso positivo”. El dolor nos llega directamente narrado por las viudas, los ancianos, rostros de mujeres y niños, que vemos en las calles en nuestras ciudades,  al pie de un semáforo, mendigando un pedazo de pan, con un aviso diciéndonos: “Somos desplazados de la violencia” bien sean del Cauca, de Urabá, el Caquetá, del Chocó, zonas donde sabemos están ubicadas las bases militares de los EE.UU, donde ondean muy unidas las dos banderas, nuestro tricolor colombiano y la americana. Si tiendes la mano a estos seres sufrientes, te confunden con alguien que está ayudando a los grupos alzados en armas. De esto  nadie dice nada, no se comenta, no se pregunta, por pánico, a recibir “una bala pérdida”.
¿Qué vamos a presentar en nuestro Ofertorio? Compartamos públicamente qué vamos a ofrecer en nuestra Eucaristía para hacer real y viviente su presencia de aquella invitación que Jesús nos hace cada día, palpando y sanando toda injusticia y dolor:

“Hagan esto en memoria mía”   1 Corintios 11:24



CONTACT: Jack Wentland, CORPUS, FCM, CITI

LATIN AMERICAN WOMAN PRIEST TO GIVE HOMILY AT EUCHARIST
REMEMBERING MARTYRS FOR JUSTICE IN LATIN AMERICA

For the eleventh year, the Progressive Catholic Coalition (PCC) will offer a Mass at which both women and men priests preside at a Mass offered at the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) gathering in Columbus, GA. On this 25th Anniversary of the martyrdom of two women coworkers and 6 Jesuits at University of Central American in El Salvador in 1989, this Eucharist calls attention to the need to continue the workclose the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, located in Fort Benning Georgia, whose graduates lead the attack on the Central American Jesuit University.

Just as in previous years, PCC organizers expect hundreds to take part—from among the thousands of activists who gather at the event. Each year the “Eucharist of All the People” has  prayed for justice in Latin America and asked blessings on the efforts for justice in the Church. 
On Saturday, November 22, 2014, participants will gather in the Columbus Convention Center at 5:30 PM for Eucharist. The theme of the liturgy is “Women and Men Witnesses to Justice in Latin America.”
This year the homilist will be Colombian Roman Catholic woman priest Olga Lucia Alvarez, ordained in 2010 in Sarasota, Florida and serving in her native Colombia. She is the first Latin American woman ordained priest. There are now three other women priests working in Colombia.

The PCC is an adhoc planning community that grew out of a recognized need to bring to participants in the SOAW event—especially the young who may not be aware of the reform movement in the Catholic Church—the message of hope for justice in the Church. The justice issues represented by the PCC include ordination of women, optional celibacy for priests, marriage equality & openly embracing all people of every sexual orientation, academic freedom for theologians, greater lay  participation, financial accountability/transparency, transparency of diocesan files of credibly accused sex offenders, justice and due process in church affairs, true religious freedom for all—including women religious. The church reform organizations sponsoring PCC@SOAW 2014 include: Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Call to Action-usa, CITI Ministries, Inc., CORPUS, Federation of Christian Ministries, Roll Away the Stone and Women’s Ordination Conference.

In addition to the Eucharist, the Progressive Catholic Coalition maintains an Information Table on Ft. Benning Road on November 22rd and 23th to offer information about the work of their sponsoring organizations.

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