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Displacement, Garzal and Nueva Esperanza

Reflections on Advent: Week 1

This is the first part of our four part Advent series, reflecting on peace and justice from our perspective working with local peacemakers in Colombia. Each piece reflects on the following Sunday’s Gospel reading.

Please read and share with your family, friends, co-workers, and faith community.

‘But in those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,

   and the moon will not give its light,

and the stars will be falling from heaven,

   and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see “the Human One [Son of Man] coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’ -Mark 13:24-37 NRSV

 “You will see the coming of the Human One … in Colombia”     By Alix Lozano

The story of the coming of the Human One is located in the center of this type of eschatological discourse [studies of the end of times]. The cosmic shock is typical of apocalyptic prophecy and used to introduce the great acts of God and give a turn to the story. The parousia (presence) is presented as the day of the great gathering of all the people of God, therefore, it can not be a day of fear but with joy.

Responding to the question of “when,” Jesus says that the important thing is not to feed the passivity and fear waiting for the destruction of the world or doomsday, but to learn to discern the signs of the times, to read the will of God in every moment of life, to be vigilant, and to resonsibly and creatively build the kingdom of God. The call is to live fully in the present time and await the Coming of Jesus with joy. The concern should not be “when” Jesus will come, but to find now that his coming is continuous, it is the present. Jesus was resurrected and lives among all. The issue is not that he comes “again” because he was never really gone. The hope is the glorious manifestation of this Jesus who has always been among his people.

In the department of Bolívar, in Colombia, we accompany two farming communities: El Garzal and its neighbor, Nueva Esperanza. They are struggling to retain possession and title to their lands they have lived on and farmed for generations. It is land that relatives of a drug dealer now want to strip of them. In their struggle they have been exposing the powers represented in political and governmental authorities who legitimize persecution, oppression, and the twisting of the law against the farmers and for the powerful. These communities have read the signs of the times assuming their hope is in the “Human One” manifested daily in the gift of life and the earth as sustenance, and in the organizations that support their struggle. These communities have realized that the “Human One” is present, inspiring them to achieve peace and justice. They have understood that “the coming of the Human One” means not the presence of a warrior, but the prince of peace, and that nonviolence is the way to resolve conflict in a context where violence rages constantly through the strong presence of different armed actors. The deeds of communities like Garzal and Nueva Esperanza are allowing the glorious manifestation of the Human One.

So all this invites us to continue reading the signs of the times with new eyes, new perspectives, openness and understanding, with new methods so that when Jesus comes, when he is present in everyday life, we do not want him to find us sleeping.

Let Us Pray

Spirit of God, You are Love
teach me the art of loving my sisters and my brothers,
to listen to their needs and take care of them,
to be just and merciful every day of my life
while waiting for the glorious coming of the Lord Jesus.

Spirit of God, You are Lord and Giver of Life
Deliver me from sin and despair, of half-heartedness
and anything else that prevents me from living fully
as a true child of God,
while waiting for the glorious coming of the Lord Jesus.

Spirit of God, You are the Teacher Within
Remember the words of the Carpenter of Nazareth
and teach me his ways to live according to his will,
while waiting for his glorious coming at the end of time.

Spirit of God, You who reveals the Truth
deliver me from all obscurity and error
and help me understand the Good News of Hope
while I await the glorious return of Jesus Christ.

Spirit of God, You who prays in us
with sighs unimaginable,
Put a cry on our lips: “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Put a hope in our hearts: “The Lord will come.”

May the Lord come to us, today and forever.
We await his coming in glory.
We await your salvation and everlasting life you promise us. Amen.

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About CPT Colombia

CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) Colombia is an International organization seeking to be allies for and partner with communities who are threatened with displacement and violence. We try to support their initiatives to promote justice and peace and their resistance to attempts by those who oppress them and seek to dispossess them of their land, culture and livelihoods.

Discussion

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  1. Pingback: Reflections on Advent: Week 3 « prayer. resistance. community. - December 5, 2011

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