Being Christian

trump-and-pope-francisLast week there was a bit of an “exchange” between Pope Francis/ Vatican and Donald Trump/his campaign team. Someone asked me what I thought about it all. I had nothing to offer since it is my experience that the press accurately quotes the Pope but then again, any text without a context is generally a pretext for what one wanted to say in the first place. What did the Pope say, in context? The context was following the celebration of Mass at the US-Mexican border while returning to Rome. Keep in mind, this Pope has built his pastoral response to the world around the model of St. Francis’ compassion for the poor, suffering, or marginalized. His response should not have been too surprising. Pope Francis said, a “person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he says things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.” Continue reading

The Samaritan Women: we have heard for ourselves

SamaritanWomanAtTheWellJesus’ words overflow with metaphor: living water, the hour, food, harvest. Each of these metaphors attempts to open reality in fresh ways for his conversation partners. Jesus wants to open the eyes of the Samaritan woman and his disciples so that they can see what is being offered to them in the present instead of continuing to view everything through the lens of old realities. Jesus wants the Samaritan woman to see who is speaking with her at this moment and the gifts that he offers (4:10). He wants her to see that the present moment is the time of eschatological fulfillment (4:23-24). Jesus wants his disciples to see that the harvest is ready now, contrary to popular understandings (4:35). In both conversations (4:7.26, 31-38), Jesus takes familiar images and fills them with new meaning in order to open up for his listeners the possibilities of a life defined by God’s gifts. The metaphors of these verses keep the terms of the conversations always fresh, always suggestive, always open to new meanings in changing circumstances. Continue reading