Sunday, June 9, 2019

Espíritu, Wind & Fire: Bilingual Sermon for Pentecostés

By Santi Rodriguez


Hoy celebramos la fiesta de Pentecostés, que es la fiesta de la experiencia del Espíritu Santo en el corazón de cada persona y en la comunidad de los creyentes. Pentecostés es mas que un evento que ocurrió hace dos mil años. El Pentecostés es nuestra experiencia del poder y el movimiento del Espíritu Divino en cada una de nuestras vidas y en la vida de la Iglesia. El Espíritu es muy dinámico, y va mas allá de nuestros conceptos, de nuestras ideas, de nuestro entendimiento. Y por tanto, debe ser expresado con símbolos.

In the theology of the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, we have two symbols for the Holy Spirit. This is what we heard today in our Second Lesson from the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. And the two symbols that Luke gives us are “a sound like the rush of a violent wind that filled the entire house,” and “tongues of fire that rested on each person” present in the upper Room on that day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-3).

Thursday, May 23, 2019

What It Means To Be Human: The Game of Thrones Edition

By Santi Rodriguez

Our watch is ended. The Game of Thrones is over. Some of us are disappointed with the series finale – or with most of Season 8. The writing felt off, but the acting and the cinematography were dazzling. No matter how sprawling a story, the rapid pace of Season 8 led to some choppy execution. Still, the last season gave viewers exciting and consequential battle scenes, immensely satisfying moments, and heartbreaking farewells. In our journey from Winterfell to King's Landing, many underlying messages of the show became clear. These are four of the main themes of the final season.

Agency/Free Will:
Do we have free will? Did the show answer this question? Agency is our capacity to make our own choices. Since Season 1, GoT had developed story arcs that indicated that characters could overcome factors, such as ability, class, gender, race, and religion, in order to exercise agency. For 73 episodes, we journeyed with characters like Arya Stark, Jaime Lannister, Jon Snow, and the Mother of Dragons, and we reckoned that they possessed the power to change or control their destiny.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Endgame: Going Backwards to Move Forward

By Santi Rodriguez


Sometimes we have to move backwards in order to move forward. In the aftermath of the Snapture, the decimation of half of all life in the universe caused by Thanos, the world is in deep mourning. At the beginning of Avengers:Endgame, our heroes are dealing with grief, guilt, and regret. They are dealing with bargaining, depression, denial, rage, and shock. Eventually, our team of mourners comes to a place of acceptance by banding together in order to undo the effects of Thanos' Snapture. The plan is simple: find Thanos and steal the six all-powerful Infinity Stones to undo what the Mad Titan did. The major problem with the plan: Thanos has destroyed the stones.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Can You See Jesus Clearly? A Transfiguration Story.

By Santi Rodriguez


Sermon preached on Sunday, March 3, 2019 
at St. James Episcopal Church in Taylor, TX.

The story of the Transfiguration bewilders us. It illustrates an occasion so beyond ordinary human experience that we find ourselves befuddled. To begin to make sense of the story, we need to look at the first verse in the passage: Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray (Luke 9:28).

The events of eight days before are found in the first part of the ninth chapter of Luke. The ninth chapter contains the ministry of the twelve apostles through the villages in Galilee, the feeding of the five thousand, and Jesus' announcement of his death. For the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus is in Bethsaida, in the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. Bethsaida is a desert place, uncultivated ground use for grazing, with agriculture in the nearby villages. The area is not unlike one of the rural counties here in Texas. One of those places that struggles to stay afloat. People work hard and pay taxes to Rome, but they struggle with their day to day needs. They struggle putting food on the table, taking care of their families, and affording a doctor - for lots of people are dealing with some sort of illness. It is in this place that Jesus multiplies the fish and the loaves of bread. The disciples struggled to understand the meaning of the miracle, and the power of Jesus. They misunderstood Jesus. They didn't see clearly. This is not a judgment on the disciples, for we are very much like them.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

I Was Reminded I Am a Creature of the Borderlands

By Santi Rodriguez

This is a reflection based on a recent visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas as part of January Term.

I was not born at the border. In fact, I only came to the United States from Colombia at age sixteen. Moreover, after college, I moved in Canada. Nonetheless, I am acquainted with the realities of the borderlands. As an immigrant, I have lived and experienced the borderlands on a regular – if not daily – basis. As a person of color, I am often made to feel that the spaces I inhabit are not made for me. You don't look white, where are you from? Everywhere I have pitched my tent has become a borderland. My many visits to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands – in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California – confirm my status as a creature of the border. A creature abreast of the strangeness of longing for a home sin fronteras, while straddling two spaces – two cultures seemingly at odds. Pero no soy de aquí, ni de alla. I am not fully de este lado. I've never lived or belonged del otro lado. All I know is that I am a stranger. You have an accent, where are you from? I concur with Gloria Anzaldúa's assertion in her book Borderlands / La Frontera: identity is a state of soul not of mind or of citizenship. Nonetheless, both mind and citizenship afflict the soul.

Monday, December 10, 2018

My Encounter with Meditative Running

By Santi Rodriguez

Men's Journal
Running was never love at first dash. For most of my life, I hated running. I tried it every once in a while, but it never took. Then three years ago, after a number of transitions in my life left me feeling anxious and obese, I laced up an old pair of sneakers and took them for a spin. Running worked its magic in me. It gave me the power to transform a bad day into a good one; frustration into inspiration; a trail into a creative studio. Mile by mile, I fell in love with running. This love motivated me to “go the distance.” It inspired me to explore the limits of my potential. It also awakened something in me. My encounter with meditative running revealed something to me about my human experience, reignited my spiritual life, and helped me to discern the life of the Triune God in me. In order to establish the consequences of my encounter with running, this reflection describes how meditative running lead to a new prayerful behavior, and eventually to a richer and more matured discourse about my humanity and my experience of God.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Account of a "helping incident"

By Santi Rodriguez

This entry was part of my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE application) under the section, Account of a "helping incident"

Before joining the Episcopal Church, as part of my formation to be a Jesuit priest, I spent six week in 2010 at a L'Arche community. L'Arche communities are places where people with and without intellectual handicaps live and work together. It was in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Québec, that I lived out the experience.

I was tense in the weeks leading to the beginning of the experience. Sometimes I could feel my bones straining under the weight of my apprehension. I did not feel prepared to care for men and women with severe mental and physical handicaps. I was worried I would hurt others in my attempt to help them.