Balik-Tanaw | Transformation, repentance, and renewal

Palestine artwork art Palestine keffiyeh Arab middle Easter art painting acrylic on canvas ; Palestinian woman Palestine map

By JONAH BALLESTEROS
United Methodist Home Missioner

Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23.
Col 3:1-4
Jn 20:1-9

As we immerse ourselves in the narratives of resistance and hope found within Peter’s courage, the symbolism of unleavened bread, and Mary Magdalene’s unwavering witness, we are invited into a reflective journey of transformation, repentance, and renewal—a journey illuminated by the liberating love of Jesus’ resurrection and the spirit of kapwa of early Christian community’s response to the entrenched systems of oppression that have plagued societies throughout history and their profound insights into the struggle against imperial power and journey toward hope and liberation.

Let us pause and enter into a sacred space of reflection, acknowledging the weight of history and the ongoing struggles for justice that permeate our world, especially in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Congo, and the Philippines. Ponder the intersections of capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy, recognizing their deep roots in the exploitation of marginalized communities and the earth itself.

In the echoes of Peter’s bold proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection, let us find inspiration to continue to speak out against human rights injustices amidst imperial intimidation and repression. Reflect on the implications of silence and fear for our own lives and communities as we strive to dismantle oppressive systems and work towards justice and peace rooted in love and liberation. What is holding us back from calling out the genocide of Palestinian people? Why are we silent in the killings of innocent people in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Congo, and the Philippines?

Contemplate the metaphor of yeast and unleavened bread, inviting us to examine the presence of malice and wickedness in our own lives. What old ways of thinking and being, and how might we clear out the old yeast of oppressive colonial ideologies, embracing the sincerity, truth instead, and love of our kapwa-tao that lead to freedom and unconditional love of neighbor?

I invite you to meditate on the image of the empty tomb and the encounters with the risen Christ. Reflecting on Mary Magdalene’s courageous witness, standing firm in the face of the unknown, and her unwavering faith, let us discern the agency and power within marginalized communities to challenge and transform systems of oppression. How can we be in solidarity and have faith with the oppressed, who know what liberation looks like in their own context?

Repentance begins with a willingness to confront the realities of our complicity in systems of supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. Take time to examine how we participate in and perpetuate these systems, whether through collaboration, apathy, or ignorance.

Just as Jesus’s resurrection symbolizes awakening from our old selves to a new creation, let us embrace the transformative power of love, justice, and liberation infused with the spirit of Kapwa. May we, too, be reborn in the spirit of collective interconnectedness, shedding the chains of oppression and embracing the call to build a world where all can flourish together.

Transforming minds and hearts requires an ongoing commitment to love God, love neighbor, and honor the spirit of Kapwa above all else. Cultivate a spirit of humility, compassion, and courage, recognizing the inherent dignity and worth of every human being and the earth as interconnected to one another.

In the journey towards liberation, may we be guided by the radical love of Christ, the wisdom of Kapwa, and the spirit of liberation. May we challenge the status quo and build a world where justice flows like a mighty river and all are free to flourish in harmony, dignity, and love.

Happy Easter! Jesus is free and alive! Now more than ever, free Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Congo, and the Philippines!

Amen. (https://www.bulatlat.org)

Balik-Tanaw is a group blog of Promotion of Church People’s Response. The Lectionary Gospel reflection is an invitation for meditation, contemplation, and action. As we nurture our faith by committing ourselves to journey with the people, we also wish to nourish the perspective coming from the point of view of hope and struggle of the people. It is our constant longing that even as crisis intensifies, the faithful will continue to strengthen their commitment to love God and our neighbor by being one with the people in their dreams and aspirations. The Title of the Lectionary Reflection would be Balik –Tanaw , isang PAGNINILAY . It is about looking back (balik) or revisiting the narratives and stories from the Biblical text and seeing, reading, and reflecting on these with the current context (tanaw).

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