Sermon: Third Sunday of Easter 2014 (bilingual)

*extended English version from the early-bird service after the jump

“Cinco De Mayo, Solidarity, and the Emmaus Examination” (bilingual version)

Text: Luke 24:13-35

Texto: Lucas 24:13-35

Prayer:  Oremos en el nombre del Creador, el Redentor, y el Santificador.  In the name of our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.  Amén.

We have so much to celebrate, it’s difficult to know where to begin!  Tenemos tanto para celebrar, ¡es difícil saber donde debemos empezar! First on the list is our continued celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Primeramente es nuestra celebración de la resurrección de Jesucristo.  Second is Cinco de Mayo.  Segundo es el Cinco de Mayo.  Third is this special bilingual eucharist, which unites us across our usual Sunday divisions of language, culture, and ethnicity. Tercero es esta misa bilingüe y especial, que nos une a través de nuestras divisiones usuales de lengua, cultura y etnicidad. ¡Vámonos!  Let’s go!

We are in the third Sunday of the season of Easter, so today we hear another resurrection story in Luke’s Gospel.  Jesus again is sneaking up on the people who knew and loved him in life to mess with them, test them, eat with them, and vanish.  Estamos en el tercer domingo de Pascua, entonces hoy escuchamos otra historia de la resurrección en el evangelio de San Lucas.  Jesús otra vez está infiltrando a la gente que le conocía y amaba en la vida para bromar un poco, ponerles a prueba, comer con ellos y desaparecer. And it reads, to me, like the disciples have to pass five little tests before Jesus lets them in on the secret.  Y a mi, parece que los discípulos tienen que pasar cinco pequeñas pruebas antes de que Jesús les incluye en el secreto.

1) They have to tell the truth to a stranger. Tienen que decir la verdad a un extraño.

2) They have to give credit to the women for being the first ones to see the risen Jesus. Tienen que dar respeto a las mujeres por ser las primeras quien ver al Jesús resucitado.

3) They have to be open to learning from this stranger, who comes off pretty critical and cranky. Tienen que estar abiertos a aprender de este extraño, que sale un poco crítico y de mal humor.

4) They have to welcome the stranger in as one of their own, meeting his needs for food, shelter, and safety. Tienen que dar la bienvenida al extranjero, como uno de su propia gente, y satisfacer sus necesidades de alimento, refugio y seguridad.

5) They have to be willing to receive a blessing from a stranger. Tienen que estar dispuestos a recibir una bendición de un extraño.

It is only after they do these five things that Jesus reveals himself to them.  And then, immediately, he vanishes!  All that for a split-second visitation.  What does it mean?  Sólo es después de que hacen estas cinco cosas que Jesús revela él mismo a ellos. ¡Y luego, inmediatamente, desaparece! Todo esto para una visitación durando de la fracción de segundo. ¿Qué significa?

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo; we’re celebrating it one day early.  Let me save you the embarrassment of having to ask somebody later: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day.  It is the anniversary of a battle won by Mexico against French invaders in 1862, in Puebla.  It is celebrated far more widely in the US than in Mexico.  Mañana es el Cinco de Mayo; lo celebramos un día temprano. Permítanme salvarles (pues, a los Anglos) la vergüenza de necesidad de preguntar a alguien más tarde: El Cinco de Mayo no es el Día de la Independencia de México. Es el aniversario de una batalla ganada por México contra invasores franceses en 1862, en Puebla. Se celebra mucho más extensamente en los EE.UU que en México. During the Civil War in this country, Mexicans living California and throughout the west had strong sympathies with the Union Army.  Mexico outlawed slavery and race-based citizenship in 1810, as soon as it overthrew Spanish rule.  That is more than 50 years before the US outlawed slavery, and more than 150 years before the US passed civil rights laws outlawing racial discrimination.  Durante la Guerra Civil en este país, los mexicanos que viven en California y el oeste tenían un sentimiento fuerte de solidaridad con el Ejército de la Unión– los estados del norte, donde la esclavitud ya era ilegal. Porque México prohibió la esclavitud y la ciudadanía basada en la raza en el año mil ochocientos y diez (1810)– más de cincuenta años antes de los EE.UU. prohibió la esclavitud, y más de ciento cincuenta años antes de que los EE.UU. aprobó las leyes para prohibir la discriminación racial.

France invaded Mexico at this time because Mexico refused to pay back debts to the European countries that had colonized her.  Francia invadió México en este momento porque México se negó a pagar las deudas a los países europeos que le habían colonizado.  But this was only one reason for the invasion.  The other was that Emperor Napoleon sought an alliance with the Confederacy.  Pero esto fue sólo una de las razones para la invasión. El otro era que el emperador de Francia, Napoleón, buscó una alianza con los Estados Confederados– los estados luchando en defenso de la esclavitud. The Confederacy would have won the war if Mexico had not stood up to defend herself against France, driving Napoleon out.  Los Confederados hubiera ganado la guerra si México no había levantado a defenderse contra Francia. Mexicans living in California at this time knew precisely how much was a stake.  They would write to their local papers speaking out about the evils of slavery.  Many of them joined the Union Army.  Los mexicanos viviendo en lugares como California en aquel momento sabían precisamente cuánto era en juego. Ellos escribieron a sus periódicos locales denunciando la esclavitud. Muchos de ellos se alistaron en el ejército de la Unión, para luchar contra los Confederados. When California joined the Union in 1850 it did so unanimously as a free state because so many of its residents–especially latinos– opposed slavery.  Cuando California se unió a los Estados Unidos lo hizo unánimemente como un estado anti-esclavitud porque muchos de sus habitantes– especialmente los latinos–se opusieron a la esclavitud. The small win against France in Puebla on May 5th 1862 was part of longer struggle but it was a desperately-needed ray of hope.  And Mexico’s defeat of France left the Confederacy without that powerful ally.  La pequeña victoria contra Francia en Puebla en el Cinco de Mayo de 1862 fue parte de la lucha más larga, pero fue un rayo poderoso de esperanza. Y la derrota de Francia, gracias a los mexicanos, dejó los Confederados sin apoyo internacional.

I hope you realize what all of this means. It means we owe our successful abolition of slavery in this country to Mexico.  It means that the Mexican people love freedom so much, have fought for it so vigilantly, that we are more free in this country simply by virtue of being their neighbors.  Espero que les dan cuenta que significa todo esto. Significa que debemos nuestro abolición de la esclavitud en este país a México. Significa que el pueblo mexicano tanto aman la libertad, tanto han luchado por la libertad, que los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos somos más libres simplemente porque ellos son nuestros vecinos. Think again about Jesus’ five tests on the road to Emmaus, when you remember the Mexicans who spoke and fought against slavery on both sides of the border in 1862. Piensen otra vez en las cinco pruebas de Jesús en el camino a Emaús, cuando recuerden a los mexicanos que lucharon contra la esclavitud por ambos lados de la frontera en mil ochocientos sesenta y dos (1862):

1) Tell the truth, even among strangers.  Even in a strange land.  Decir la verdad, incluso entre extranjeros. Incluso en una tierra extraña.

2) Give credit to the people who saw the light of the resurrection before you did.  Dar respeto a las personas que vieron la luz de la resurrección antes que usted.

3) Learn from strangers.  Aprender de los extranjeros.

4) Welcome strangers as your own people and meet their needs.  Dar la bienvenida a los extranjeros como su propio pueblo y satisfacer sus necesidades.

5) Be willing to receive a blessing from strangers.  Estar dispuesto a recibir una bendición de los extranjeros.

We are gathered together today as one parish, one faith, one people united to do God’s will on earth as in heaven.  Estamos reunidos hoy como una parroquia, una sola fe, un solo pueblo unido para hacer la voluntad de Dios en la tierra como en el cielo.  As we go forward today in celebration, let’s keep practicing for those five Emmaus tests.  Mientras avanzamos en la celebración hoy, seguimos practicando para las cinco pruebas de Emaús:

1) Tell the truth about the Gospel, the good news for the poor and the oppressed.  Digan la verdad del Evangelio, las buenas noticias para los pobres y los oprimidos.

2) Recognize that right here and now, we are in the company of saints who have witnessed the power of the resurrection.  Reconozcan que aquí y ahora, estamos en la compañía de los santos que han sido testigos del poder de la resurrección.

3) Learn something new from a stranger.  Aprendan algo nuevo de alguien desconocido.

4) Welcome strangers as our own people and meet their needs.  Demos la bienvenida a los extranjeros como nuestra propia gente y satisfacer sus necesidades.

5) Allow ourselves to be blessed by strangers.  Nos permitimos ser bendecidos por los extraños.

We practice these things because Jesus has shown us that when we do, we will catch a glimpse of him.  Practicamos estas cosas porque Jesús nos ha mostrado que cuando las hacemos, le vislumbraremos.  Amén

*********************

“Cinco De Mayo, Solidarity, and the Emmaus Examination”

Text: Luke 24:13-35

Prayer: God of surprises, prepare our hearts and minds that we may be ready to meet you on the road, in the face of each stranger we pass.  Amen.

Today is one of those Sundays when, as a parish, we have so much to celebrate that it’s difficult to know where to begin!  This is the best kind of problem.  First on the list is our continued celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Second, today is our parish-wide celebration of Cinco de Mayo, led by our Spanish-speaking congregation.  All are invited for music, dancing, food– stop by anytime between noon and 5pm.  And third (if you come back at 10am!) is our special bilingual eucharist, which unites us across our usual Sunday divisions of language, culture, and ethnicity.

We are in the third Sunday of the season of Easter, so today we hear another resurrection story in Luke’s Gospel.  Jesus again is sneaking up on the people who knew and loved him in life to mess with them, test them, eat with them, and vanish.  We don’t often talk about Jesus as a playful guy but I think, especially in this story, the potential is strong.  He takes his time toying with the disciples.  He goes for the dramatic build-up.  You can sort of imagine watching it like one those TV shows where there’s a hidden camera and a long practical joke unfolding.  But he’s not just playing.  He’s testing them, right?  He wants to see if they’re going to follow through on all the things he taught them, all the things they promised him they would do.  And it reads, to me, like the disciples have to pass five little tests before Jesus lets them in on the secret:

1) They have to tell the truth to a stranger.

2) They have to give credit to the women for being the first ones to see the risen Jesus.

3) They have to be open to learning from this stranger, who comes off as quite critical and cranky.

4) They have to welcome the stranger in as one of their own, meeting his needs for food, shelter, and safety.

5) They have to be willing to receive a blessing from a stranger.

It is only after they do these five things that Jesus reveals himself to them.  And then, immediately, he vanishes!  All that for a split-second visitation.  What does it mean?  Keep this list in the back of your mind.  We’re going to return to it.

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo; we’re celebrating it one day early this afternoon.  Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day.  It is the anniversary of a battle won by Mexico against French invaders in 1862, in Puebla.  It is celebrated far more widely in the US than in Mexico.  Why?  During the Civil War in this country, Mexicans living California and throughout the west had strong sympathies with the Union Army.  Mexico outlawed slavery and race-based citizenship in 1810, as soon as it overthrew Spanish rule.  That is more than 50 years before the US outlawed slavery, and more than 150 years before the US passed civil rights laws outlawing racial discrimination.  France invaded Mexico at this time because Mexico refused to pay back debts to the European countries that had colonized her.  But this was only one reason for the invasion.  The other was that Emperor Napoleon sought an alliance with the Confederacy.  The Confederacy would have won the war if Mexico had not stood up to defend herself against France, driving Napoleon out.  Mexicans living in California at this time knew precisely how much was a stake.  They would write to their local papers speaking out about the evils of slavery.  Many of them joined the Union Army.  When California joined the Union in 1850 it did so unanimously as a free state because so many of its residents–especially latinos– opposed slavery.  The small win against France in Puebla on May 5th 1862 was part of longer struggle but it was a desperately-needed ray of hope.  Through the rest of the Civil War, Cinco De Mayo was a holiday celebrated by Latinos in the Western US to encourage Lincoln to take bolder and bolder actions.  And in the first two generations during which Cinco De Mayo was celebrated here in the US, the power of that hope was remembered.  Veterans of the Union Army and the Mexican Army would suit up and parade side by side, in honor of their shared struggle against the sin of slavery.

I hope you realize what all of this means. It means we owe a tremendous debt for our successful abolition of slavery in this country.  To Mexico.  It means that the Mexican people love freedom so much, have fought for it so faithfully, that we are more free in this country simply by virtue of being their neighbors.  Think again about Jesus’ five tests of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, when you remember the Mexicans who spoke and fought against slavery on both sides of the border in 1862:

1) Tell the truth, even among strangers.  Even in a strange land.

2) Give credit to the people who saw the resurrection before you did.

3) Learn from strangers.

4) Welcome strangers as your own people and meet their needs.

5) Be willing to receive a blessing from strangers.

We gather together today as one parish, one faith, one people united to do God’s will on earth as in heaven.  As we go forward today in celebration, let’s keep practicing for those five Emmaus tests:

1) Tell the truth about the Gospel, the good news for the poor and the oppressed.

2) Recognize that right here and now, in our very own parish, you are in the company of saints who have witnessed the power of the resurrection.

3) Learn something new from a stranger

4) Welcome strangers as our own people and meet their needs.

5) Allow yourselves to be blessed by strangers.

Practice these things because Jesus has shown us that when we do, we will catch a glimpse of him.  We can’t hope to know Jesus if we’re not ready to risk meeting him through each stranger we pass on the street.  It is a risk.  But it is worth it.  Amen.

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About aaron

Catechist at Chaplains on the Harbor.
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