Jesus comes to free us. Jesus frees us to love beyond boundaries. Jesus calls us to love freely and fully beyond the boundary of race, beyond the boundary of class, beyond the boundary of sexual identity, beyond our own dreams and wants, even beyond our securities. When we love in this way, we will be called blessed.
As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the II Vatican Council here in the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas (Chiapas, Mexico), we remembered the life that the Vatican Council gave to our Continent, especially in Latin America. The reflection of Medellin, Puebla and Santo Domingo compelled the Church on the whole continent to love those who had been forgotten, the poor.
Out of this new life and commitment in the Church, men and women, lay and clergy, took on the challenge to love beyond boundaries to the point of giving up their lives. We began our celebration by remembering a few of the men and women who have been killed in El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala. Although none of these men and women are yet called blessed in a official sense, they are blessed indeed for many of us. They were living testaments of the Word of God among us.
Jesus words in today’s Gospel reading, "blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.", and these contemporary martyrs’ pious stance for human dignity, truth, justice and love, allow us to see a glimpse of God’s life. In other words we see how blessed they were then and, especially, now. Their life and witness does not only give us hope but it challenges us as well by creating poignant questions for us as church. How deeply will we, the church, be willing to love in a time of violent deaths (September was one of the bloodiest months in the failing Mexican War against drugs) due to the availability of North American weapons and its high demand of drugs and Mexican corruption and poverty? Will the Church be capable of loving beyond the security of the new "tolerance" with the Mexican State in a time of fraudulent elections? Will this silence our leaders or will we be brave and risk our own dreams and wants for the sake of justice and truth? May we all let Jesus free us from the shackles of our prejudices, the shackles of our fears and ignorance, the shackles of our egos and plans, the shackles of our silent complicity and numbing security in order to love freely and fully and be Blessed indeed!
Fr. Hugo Esparza-Perez, C.P. is a Passionist of Holy Cross Province now working in Mexico with the Province of Cristo Rey.