Advent 2: Up Jerusalem! Up Ysleta!

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever: wrapped in the cloak of justice from God; bear on your head the mitre that displays the glory of the eternal name. For God will show all the earth your splendor: you will be named by God forever the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.

Up, Jerusalem! Stand upon the heights; look to the east and see your children gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God. Led away on foot by their enemies they left you: but God will bring them back to you borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones. For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and gorges be filled to level ground, that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God. The forests and every fragrant kind of tree have overshadowed Israel at God’s command; for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company. Baruch 5:1-9

On November 16th something happened right here in Ysleta that made the chanting purer and the dancing more heartfelt. Hard to believe that either the chanting or dancing could be more heartfelt – but they were! For Reals!! I KNOW! I was there! Governors of the Pueblos who form the All Pueblo Indian Council gathered here in Ysleta to announce and make real, something that leaders and people of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo have desired for generations: recognition and inclusion of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in the All Pueblo Council!! The Pueblo was “brought home,” if you will!

The longing of Baruch in this scripture is the same longing of so many members of the Pueblo. The governor of the Zuñi Pueblo underscored this when he, in his greetings to the Pueblo, said: “You have accomplished something here today for which we still long. When we left the Grand Canyon some of our members moved south. We have never seen them again. We do not know where they have gone. You today have returned to your people. We rejoice with you just as we long for them.”

The longing of the Zuñi, as the long suffered longing of the Tigua is the same longing expressed in Baruch as the longing of God for any who have wandered or been stolen away. God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and gorges be filled to level ground, that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God. That Israel, that Ysleta, that the Zuñi, that you and I may advance and return to God.

So often our Advent preparations prepare our hearts for God’s coming: and so we should. But we also observe the God’s preparing for our return. As a grandmother prepares her house and table to receive her grandchildren to the feast of Christmas so does God long for us and our return.

In the Advent scriptures we tell the stories of how the people have longed for home, longed for justice, longed for peace, longed for acceptance. In those same stories let us open our eyes to see the God, our grandmother, longing for our return and in the returning to God, as in the returning to the grandmother there is justice (we live God’s teachings), there is peace (we live in balance with nature and each other) and there is acceptance (we live forgiven in a compassionate and long suffering heart). Prepare the Way! God is already here!

fr. Charles


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