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In the gospel for this week, Jesus challenges all of us to “be opened!” But be opened to what? We are not only called to open our hearts to impressive, noticeable missions, but perhaps even more so, we are called to open our heart to myriad momentary opportunities to embody compassion to our neighbors. There are so many ways to be open to love! Perhaps our only mistake is to be so busy noticing them – or being too busy to notice them - that we do not commit to any!
September 5, 2021: Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
A reflection by delfin bautista
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“Be opened!” … what a simple, complex, challenging, prophetic invitation from Jesus not only to the deaf and mute man, but to all of us. “Be opened!” To change, to possibility, to community, to healing, to moving forward, to doing something for justice … to life!
I can often be wordy in my reflections, and the readings for this week inspire musings to fill volumes. They explore the power of touch to heal, the power of communities to connect, and the witness of minimizing oneself in order to maximize the work that God does through us. There are so many ways to reflect on the sacred images of healing in these narratives. But this week, I feel moved to keep it simple and sacredly sassy. The writings in Isaiah, Psalms, James, and Mark all have a central message: we all must do something for justice. Inaction in the face of injustice is wrong. Period.
The readings spark reminders of the posters and announcements by TSA in airports, “see something, say something.” Who knew that this slogan had and has prophetic undertones and overtones. We need to be reminded on an ongoing basis that social justice work, solidarity, activism, being an agent of change do not have to involve big, elaborate, complex actions. Simple acts of kindness for justice can pack a wallop and ripple in the most transformative of ways. Some folks are called to be the faces, voices, and bodies that lead revolutions. Others are called to use art, writing, and other creative expressions to capture, cultivate, and create messages of hope and healing. Still others are called to do the simple yet powerful action of saying thank you to the grocery store clerk or returning our carts to the cart collection area, supporting businesses owned by minoritized groups, offering prayers in solidarity with Cuba, Haiti, and the Middle East. We may simply be called to share a petition in support of trans rights on social media; sit in quiet solidarity with a friend who is hurting and doesn’t want to be alone; and/or plant a tree or start a community garden. The vocation of solidarity is a ministry that takes on many different forms, with no rights or wrongs—just living into “being opened” for the Divine to do little bits of good so that the world can be overwhelmed with justice and inclusion.
mx. delfin w. bautista, MSW, MDiv.
they/them/elles or just delfín.
delphin is a native of Miami, FL of Cuban and Salvadoran heritage. delfin currently lives in Athens, OH with their beloved of 18 years discerning the next ministerial adventure. A social worker and activist theologian, delfin is passionate about intersectional justice and resilience, especially around the experiences of queer people of color. delfin is a member of DignityUSA’s POC Caucus and Anti-Racism Resource team. delfin also serves on the Vision Council for Call To Action and is a member of CTA’s ReGeneration Program.