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Monday, January 18, 2021

In the Gospels, Jesus reveals to us the loving God who cares for children, for women, for the destitute, the sick, the sparrows, the flowers, and whose will is the well-being of all people. Neli+

 


Second Sunday after the Epiphany

St. John 1:43-51

 

Today, the great Epiphany arrives in Galilee. There, Jesus first manifests and calls a group of disciples to accompany him to proclaim the good news. Jesus finds Phillip and says to him, “Follow me,” Phillip does not resist the epiphany and immediately follows Jesus. And, as the epiphany cannot be silenced, Phillip brings the good news to Nathanael and proclaims, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 

Nathanael, blind from his prejudices, responds to Phillip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Galilee was a despised part of Israel, and Nazareth was a proverbially despised part of Galilee. Jesus is from Nazareth; so, even before meeting Jesus, Nathanael stereotypes him. He gives in to the vice of judging people, their work and wisdom of the class to which they are supposed to belong or of the place from which they come. His prejudices prevent him from receiving the epiphany. But Phillip is inspired enough and encourages him saying, “Come and see.”

Nathanael comes, sees, and experiences the great epiphany in such a way that he finally confesses to Jesus, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” His confession is indeed the confession of one who has been transformed by the encounter with Jesus, and now he sees that God is present in Jesus of Nazareth. This encounter ends with a great revelation of Jesus, “You will see greater things… you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Jesus’ words remind us of the early revelation of God to Jacob, the Israelite’s ancestor. He dreamed that there was a ladder that united heaven and earth, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And God was there and promised to walk with him and his descendants and bless all the nations of the earth through them. When Jacob woke up from his sleep he exclaims, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Gen 28, 16).

Now in Galilee, the house of God is present among the people and the gate of heaven is open to all.  In Jacob’s dream, the ladder is the way of communication between heaven and earth.  Jesus now declares that he is the mediator between God and humans, and great things may be seen through him. We can see these great things in the testimonies of the Gospels, where we read of the great teachings and actions of Jesus in favor of the people. In the Gospels, Jesus reveals to us the loving God who cares for children, for women, for the destitute, the sick, the sparrows, the flowers, and whose will is the well-being of all people.

Today, Jesus arrives in our midst and invites us to enter into the house of God and experience the great epiphany and see all great things. Today, Jesus opens the heavens and also our eyes to see the daily epiphany among us in other people and in nature: in a child’s gaze, a smile, a sunrise, a hug, a flower, in a time of rest or meditation. The epiphany is present in all aspects of our daily life. 

There, you will see great things! 


You will see God!


Neli+

Neli+ Miranda, Priest-in-Charge




Spiritual consulation, baptisms, weddings, 

funerals are available during the time of 


(at home or in small gatherings at the chapel)


Greetings and blessings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ
Please, let us know if you have pastoral needs and/or wish personal, online, or telephone communications during this period of Coronavirus.
Email:
The Reverend Neli Miranda Lopez

nelimirandalopez@gmail.com

We will include you in our informal support circle and add you to our prayer list.
You can also receive personally directed private prayers, Bible readings and pastoral reflections during this time.  If you wish to have special spiritual requests and needs we welcome them.

The Reverend Neli Miranda Lopez
Priest-in-Charge
St. Alban Episcopal Mission
Antigua, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

The Episcopal Church WELCOMES EVERYONE
(everyone means everyone)

Thursday, January 14, 2021

ST. ALBAN EPISCOPAL MISSION, ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA - RECEIVES HISTORIC ESTEY Pump Organ!


The ESTEY Pump Organ was used in the field by all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and first used in the Spanish American War,  both World Wars and the Korean Conflict too.  Often it was near the front lines because the organ folded into a carrying-size case and could be easily carried by one person (usually the chaplains assistant) from place to place with troop movement.

This ESTEY was donated to St.Alban Mission by Jeffrey Baker, Manager of Gates Kingsley and Gates Mortuaries of Los Angeles, California.  Jeffrey is a member of the Bishops Committee/Vestry, St.Alban, Antigua.


Rod Davis, Bishops Committee member/Music Director, plays this historical organ with great skill and passion for us on many Sundays. 

 


The Estey Organ is an amazing gift to our service oriented Mission Community and adds a rich musical  inspiration to our Holy Eucharist celebrations, in English, at Casa Convento Concepcion (or where it may be needed).

THANK YOU -  JEFFREY BAKER and ROD DAVIS 

 

Neli+ Miranda, Priest-in-Charge




Spiritual consulation, baptisms, weddings, 

funerals are available during the time of 


(at home or in small gatherings at the chapel)


Greetings and blessings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ
Please, let us know if you have pastoral needs and/or wish personal, online, or telephone communications during this period of Coronavirus.
Email:
The Reverend Neli Miranda Lopez

nelimirandalopez@gmail.com

We will include you in our informal support circle and add you to our prayer list.
You can also receive personally directed private prayers, Bible readings and pastoral reflections during this time.  If you wish to have special spiritual requests and needs we welcome them.

The Reverend Neli Miranda Lopez
Priest-in-Charge
St. Alban Episcopal Mission
Antigua, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

The Episcopal Church WELCOMES EVERYONE
(everyone means everyone)




Monday, January 11, 2021

LET THERE BE SCHOOL SUPPLIES - San Bartolome Anglican/Episcopal received visitors bearing Epiphany gifts!

 

San Bartolome Anglican/Episcopal parish in Chucalibal, a small, rural, village in the department of Chichicastenango, Guatemala was visited by Rod Davis, Jeff Baker,
the Reverend Neli Miranda Lopez and Máximo Mancilla.  All members of St. Alban Mission, Antigua, Sacatepequez.


Fr. Tomás Calel Saquic was attending the diocese annual meeting and is priest-in-charge of San Bartomé, Chucalibal,. The visitors were welcomed by wonderful, and gracious women: María (Fr. Tomás Calel´s wife) and Ana (Fr. Tomás Calel daughter in law) who kindly received us, 



Thanks be to God
  

and

Rod Davis, Jeff Baker and Dick & Sue Graybill, our generous and loving sponsors of this years
annual back-to-school event!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

THE VOICE OF GOD - “You are my beloved daughter… you are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” Neli+

 

\
The Baptism of our Lord

January 10th 2021

Mark 1:4-11

 

The very brief but exceptional season of Christmas is over. The baby Jesus, the Son of God, has grown up under the great care of his parents. Today we meet him as an adult committed to God and ready to be baptized in the Jordan River.

Jesus grew up among the people, and he humbly comes with all the people to be baptized by John the Baptist. The people come to receive the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and Jesus comes to consecrate himself to God. They are at the Jordan River, a meaningful place for the people of Israel. Centuries ago, the crossing of the Jordan under the leadership of Joshua had marked the entry of the people of Israel into the Promised Land after a period of wandering in the wilderness. Now, once again they are ready to cross the Jordan and enter into a new era. As they are baptized, they cross the Jordan and are ready to enter into the Kingdom of God. 

The consecration of Jesus in his baptism is described as a moment of disruption in our human history. Mark says that just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, “He saw the heavens torn apart…”  There is a breach now between heaven and earth, and the dwelling place of God is open to humans. Heaven and earth are now united in Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus’ commitment and his devotion open heavens and the Holy Spirit descends upon him, and he is confirmed the Messiah of God, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (1, 10-11).  People at the Jordan River are able to witness the visible manifestation of God among them through Jesus.

After his baptism and his preparation in the wilderness, Jesus began his ministry. He proclaimed the Divine Presence among the people, and as a sign of this, he healed the sick, liberated people tormented by demons, fed the hungry, supported and assisted the defenseless. He also called upon a group of women and men, a group of disciples to bring the good news to the whole world.  As a sign of their commitment, all of them were baptized and consecrated to God. 

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, and we come to the Jordan River to celebrate that Jesus´ baptism and his consecration opened the heaven and brought God among us. We also celebrate our own consecration in our baptism and our call to proclaim the presence of God in this world. This day, we also celebrate the life of all Jesus´ disciples around the world who, through their commitment and good actions in favor of the people, open heaven and bring God among us.

Dear sisters and brothers, may our Baptismal Covenant remind us that we have been called to proclaim by word and example the good news of God, that we are committed to seek and serve Christ in all persons, strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human.  May we hear the voice of God saying, “You are my beloved daughter… you are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.”

Amen. 

Neli+

Neli+ Miranda, Priest-in-Charge




Spiritual consulation, baptisms, weddings, 

funerals are available during the time of 


(at home or in small gatherings at the chapel)


Greetings and blessings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ
Please, let us know if you have pastoral needs and/or wish personal, online, or telephone communications during this period of Coronavirus.
Email:
The Reverend Neli Miranda Lopez

nelimirandalopez@gmail.com

We will include you in our informal support circle and add you to our prayer list.
You can also receive personally directed private prayers, Bible readings and pastoral reflections during this time.  If you wish to have special spiritual requests and needs we welcome them.

The Reverend Neli Miranda Lopez
Priest-in-Charge
St. Alban Episcopal Mission
Antigua, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

The Episcopal Church WELCOMES EVERYONE
(everyone means everyone)

 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

We all are called to be bearers of Life, and to reimagine the new creation emerging in the middle of this pandemic. God is coming to us at Christmas time through a newborn baby. Neli+

 

4th Sunday of Advent, 2020

Luke 1:26-38

 

The first Advent broke in the midst of a pandemic of domination and oppression produced by the Roman Empire. At that time, most of the people lived subjugated, marginalized, and dispossessed.  The only favored people were the local elites who had colluded with the Empire and received great privileges. The first Advent changed this imperial logic and favored the underprivileged who lived on the margins.

Today, Luke tells us that the first good news of Advent comes to Nazareth, a small village of Galilee. Young Mary lives there, awaiting the destiny of all women in the village: to get engaged and married at an early age, to give birth to many children, and devote themselves to domestic work their entire life.  Advent is going to transform this reality…

In the midst of the daily routine, Gabriel, the divine messenger visits Mary and greets her: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” This grand greeting perplexes her, and she ponders its significance. No one had ever greeted the girl who grew up in Nazareth in such a special way. How could she be so favored if she was only a young woman in a small village?

 

Then, Gabriel announces that she has been favored with the gift of life. Her womb will bear life and she will give birth to a son, who will be called the Son of God, the expected Messiah.

Still troubled, Mary says to Gabriel, “How can this be if I do not yet live with a man?”

Gabriel responds that her womb will be a sanctuary of the divine presence, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.”

 

In the story of the first creation, the presence of the Spirit of God moving over the waters is a prelude to the glorious creation. Later, we read that the power of the Most High overshadows the first humans formed from the dust of the ground and breathes into them the breath of life and they become living beings (Gen 1, 1 and 2, 7).

In this sense, the words of the angel to Mary announce the coming of a new creation and the birth of a new humanity, and the womb of Mary of Nazareth will know the first fruit…

When Mary hears this good news, she responds, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Mary responds from her full freedom as a human being, she is free, a slave of no system, but only at the service of God. She, who had lived in marginalization, now has the privilege to witness a re-creation and to participate in giving birth to a new humanity.

Sisters and brothers, in the midst of the pandemic Covid-19 and while we go through difficult times, the good news of Advent comes to us and announces a recreation. This good news tells us that the Holy Spirit is coming upon us as a prelude of a new creation and that the power of Most High overshadows us to give birth to a new humanity.

 Today, like Mary, we all are called to be bearers of Life, and to reimagine the new creation emerging in the middle of this pandemic.  God is coming to us at Christmas time through a newborn baby. This visitation renews our world. May we respond like Mary “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” 


Amen. 

Neli+

Sunday, December 13, 2020

THE CALL FROM THE WILDERNESS - The prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist remind us of the continuous Advent, the continuous coming of God into human history. Neli+

 

Third Sunday of Advent


Isaiah 61:1-4, John 1:6-8, 19-28

 

The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called “Gaudete Sunday”. It takes its name from the Latin word Gaudete which means “Rejoice”. This Sunday of joy brings us an imperative invitation to rejoice in the hope of the coming birth of Jesus. Its lessons are filled with joy and inspire our faith as we approach the great celebration of Christmas.

Isaiah and John the Baptist are the two great prophets of Advent. Their proclamation speaks to us of the continuous Advent, the continuous coming of God into human history.

Today, we hear John the Baptist proclaiming the great Advent, God becoming flesh and living among us in Jesus. The evangelist says that John came as a witness to testify to the light in the midst of a dark time. He testified of Jesus as the light of all people, the light that shines in the darkness.

John the Baptist was a great prophet in such a way that many people thought he was the Messiah to come. So, while he was baptizing in the river Jordan, some priests and Levites came from Jerusalem and insistently asked him, “Who are you? Are you the Messiah?” He confessed “I am not the Messiah” and clarified his mission, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.

The mission of John in the first Advent was intended to point towards Jesus the One sent by God, and his actions were aimed at preparing the people for the encounter with Jesus. The desert was his mission’s platform. In the quietness of wilderness there were no distractions which might have undermined the glorious event to come. In the wilderness people only could hear the voice of John the Baptist crying out, “Make straight the way of the Lord!”

Today we continue hearing the call from the wilderness. The prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist remind us of the continuous Advent, the continuous coming of God into human history. This is truly good news of great joy for all and a great reason to rejoice today.

How can we rejoice in the midst of this pandemic?

The invitation of this Sunday can only make sense in a world which lives on the edge of despair. This is an invitation to reimagine the future and to rejoice in the hope of our coming liberation. Rejoicing in the coming future is an act of faith and hope and strengthens us as we go through this time. The pandemic Covid-19 and its painful effects are part of our human history and so is the divine presence.

Sisters and brothers, as we draw closer to Christmas we continue on our way joyfully, living in hope and rejoicing in the birth of God among us. We, also, as disciples of Jesus, continue the mission of John the Baptist to call the world to the quietness of wilderness to have an encounter with God. May we find favor in God to be faithful proclaimers in our time and prepare the way of the Lord! May we guide this world to the encounter with God in Christmas! 


Amen.

Neli+

Neli+ Miranda, Priest-in-charge




Spiritual consulation, baptisms, weddings, 

funerals are available during the time of 


at home or in small gatherings at the chapel.


Greetings and blessings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ
Please, let us know if you have pastoral needs and/or wish personal, online, or telephone communications during this period of Coronavirus.
Email:
The Reverend Neli Miranda Lopez

nelimirandalopez@gmail.com

We will include you in our informal support circle and add you to our prayer list.
You can also receive personally directed private prayers, Bible readings and pastoral reflections during this time.  If you wish to have special spiritual requests and needs we welcome them.

The Reverend Neli Miranda Lopez
Priest-in-charge
St. Alban Episcopal Mission
Antigua, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

The Episcopal Church WELCOMES EVERYONE
(everyone means everyone)