Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Martha, James, and the Grandparents

I completely relate to the person of Martha, who is the model of hospitality and fidelity in discipleship. I realize that her sister's contemplative disposition is quite necessary for a developing prayer life, but Jesuits are contemplatives in action. Therefore, we actively have to bring Christ to others, or to the very least, receive him. Martha always struck me as a woman who cares about herself and the contours of her environment. I can imagine her house to be tidy and organized. She is adept in the kitchen as she prepares hummus, foul (beans), and tasty meat dishes for Jesus and their friends. She seemed accomplished in daily activities management.

He is also the one who goes out to meet Jesus and to confess her belief in him as the Christ, the Son of God. It is one thing to recognize and know something about someone; it is quite another thing to publicly declare it. I admire her courage and fortitude. It proves that she trusted in Jesus as the one with power to give new life.

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I was in transit on the feast of James. My 1996 visit to Spain helped me be in awe of him. I was stunned that I was visiting a place where a man, a disciple, who actually knew Jesus once lived (according to tradition.) He is held in great reverence in Spain, especially as one who interceded, along with Jesus' mom, to stop the Islamic invasion of northern Spain. He has reverence in Compostela (land's end in the west) and Zaragosa (east) and points in between.

One day I want to walk the Camino with its terminus at Compostela and Land's End. I'm heartened that so many pilgrims encountered St. James at the end of their journey. Words cannot capture the feeling of being in Compostela, which is so steeped in Catholic tradition. It is one of the most revered spots in Catholicism throughout the centuries.

Different traditions exist around St. James. Whatever the truth, one comes in contact with the reality of a real disciple who was a friend of Jesus, whether it is true or not. He holds a special place in my consciousness as he desired to travel to the ends of the earth to tell others about the Resurrection of Jesus.

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I also missed writing about the feasts of Joachim and Ann, the maternal grandparents of Jesus. Wait. Jesus must have had paternal grandparents too.

I only knew one of my four grandparents, my grandma Maria. I am named after my grandfathers, John and Alfred, but I never saw them because they died before I was born. My paternal grandmother also died early.

As I mature, I see the great importance of grandparents in the lives of their families. Some give up all they have to move closer to their grandchildren. Others are skyping daily to gaze upon newborns. All I know is that lots of love flows from grandparents to their families. They seem to be the happiest people.

I wish I knew mine better. I would probably relate to Joachim and Ann stronger if I had a sense of extended biological family. Anyways, my grandfathers live on in my name.