Saturday, December 24, 2011

The poor at Christmas

Recently 80 Maya Chorti were displaced from land near the Mayan ruins in Copán. They will spend Christmas in provisional housing at the side of the road,  as you can seen from these two photos taken by Padre Efraín Romero, the pastor of Dulce Nombre parish.

Almost fifty years ago, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote:

“Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because He cannot be at home in it, because He is out of place in it, His place is with those others for whom there is no room, His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, who are tortured, bombed, and exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in the world. He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst. . . . It is in these that He hides Himself, for whom there is no room.”
Thomas Merton, “The Time of the End is the Time of No Room,”
in Raids on the Unspeakable, pp. 72-3

Thirty-three years ago, today, Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero,  martyred archbishop of San Salvador, preached this message:

“No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look down on others, those who have no need of God — for them there will be no Christmas. Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God., Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit, there can be no abundance of God.”
Archbishop Oscar Romero, December 24, 1978,
in James Brockman, ed., the Church Is All of You


The Maya Chorti were evicted on December 15, 2011. Their story can be read at the end of a blog entry by Honduras Culture and Politics on the Maya calendar festivities planned at Copán Ruinas. While tourism is a priority here in Honduras, the indigenous poor are not!

1 comment:

Charles said...


One half-expects the Lobo government to hire foreign nationals to play the roles of Mayans. Palestinians, maybe?

I think that having room at the inn begins in not having a fixed plan for the day or for the future in general. What or who is needful will appear before us. By reacting to whatever or whoever in a calm and compassionate way, we do the work of God.

The Buddhists ask, "What is the purpose of life? Is it not to dance upon the earth?" They may be onto something.