Reflection – October 2018

I like bananas. Bananas are good; surely there is no cloud over bananas? The term “Banana Republic” was first used by O. Henry at the beginning of the last century to describe the ruined state of Guatemala. It was ruined by the United Fruit Company (which later became known as Chiquita Banana Co.) They bought the politicians, and more importantly, huge swaths of land to grow their product. The people of Guatemala had no say in this, but since they could no longer farm the land, the only jobs to be had were working for United Fruit. If the workers threatened a strike, or a reformer politician arose, the US government sent in the US marines. This pattern has been repeated all over Central and South America for over a century. This is the Military-Industrial Complex.
The church has been on the side of those with power in Central and South America since the conquistadors arrived. At least until the later half of the last century. In the 70’s and 80’s Bishop Oscar Romero began to speak out during a civil war over land reform. (the land that had been sold to multinational corporations ) The powers that be would brook no interference in the status quo and the bishop was assassinated. But the church was not cowed, in parishes and dioceses all over central America they began to speak for those who had no voice, no power, the theological language that was used is that the Gospel demonstrates a “preferential option for the poor”
The poor refugee from Guatemala who arrives at our border with her child, having sold everything she has to make the journey, is that poor person that the Gospel prefers. The Church must give up its seat at the table of the powerful and stand with her.

Rev. Ray Bonin


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