Worshiping a Tortilla

Blog Post
The Easter Season is upon us with the big day only a week and a bit distant and that means that Latin America has shut down (essentially) for two weeks as people celebrate by going home and visiting relatives.

My work in Latin America basically comes to an abrupt stop as well because people are unavailable. It’s predictable. There are other predictable things in Mexico…

Easter Miracles

There are traditional miracles in Mexico every Easter Season as Jesus makes his appearance on tortillas. No, I’m not making this up. Check it out for yourselves. Do the research. There are a lot of Jesus tortillas at this time of year and from what I’ve been able to determine, they are all worshiped. There are shrines to Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe that include tortillas.

If you eat one, what happens to you? I can’t even guess. I haven’t met anyone who has…but I want to ask LSP if Karen’s Burritos in Itasca, Texas ever feature flour tortillas with the holy visage on them. Those brisket burritos are good – maybe that’s why? The Lone Star Parson is in the biz. He might be able to offer an explanation. Is it the “real Jesus” or a simulation? I’m not qualified to offer an opinion, though I have my suspicions.

I first noticed this phenomenon in Santa Ana, California (county seat of Orange County). There was a Mexican panadaria with a huge crowd in front of it, stretching into the street and blocking traffic. Hawkers had arrived and were plying their wares as they weaved in and out of the crowd. I didn’t know what to make of it, so I asked a local (my car was stopped by traffic, which made this easier) what happened.

“Jesus appeared at the bakery.” 
That’s not something that you hear every day, but traffic started to crawl and the police arrived to clear people off First Street. Then I arrived at work at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (located half a mile from the miracle) and there was a buzz going between our clerks, some of whom were Mexican, about the Miracle-on-First Street. Having just passed by the site of the miracle, I asked for details. “Jesus appeared on a tortilla,” a woman of faith said without breaking a grin. “It’s a sign, Mr. LL.”
“A sign of what?” My question went unanswered. 
I learned that, Jesus appears on tortillas in Mexico with some regularity at Easter – but only on flour tortillas. Whether or not the divine is drawn to flour tortillas over corn is something else The evidence is overwhelming. Maza (corn) doesn’t make the cut.

I’ve heard of riots and injuries at a bakery in Tlaquepaque (a subset of Guadalajara) in the run up to the holy week, as people jostled each other to have the opportunity to gaze at a tortilla that somebody placed at a shrine set up inside of a bakery.
I am personally a man of faith. I spend a great deal of time researching things Biblical. I go to church. But I draw the line at worshiping a burned tortilla. Am I a heretic?

18 thoughts on “Worshiping a Tortilla

  1. No, LL. You are a reasonable sinner, just like the rest of us and not a hateful heretic.

    While I myself have not been duly ordained by any mainstream church, I can spew some worldly opinions as to why there are those among us who are driven to worship tortillas.

    "The Lord helps those who help themselves." Could be scripture, maybe not, but this little gem is entirely lost on many believers. It comes down to their personal loci of control: many Christians go through their day relying on signs from above to dictate virtually every thing they do. Should I have another cup of coffee? Better pray on this one. Should I do grocery shopping today or tomorrow? Hmmm, I wonder what the Lord has to say on this conundrum, I better pray.

    Where to draw the line? That is a matter of each individual to determine. I was visiting my sister some decades ago, when her kids were little and we were circling the local Chucky Cheese looking for a parking spot, none were obvious. My sister, driving, out loud prayed to Jesus Christ Our Savior, 'dear Lord, please find it within Your devine judgement to deliver us a parking spot, we pray in Your Name, Amen.'

    Where to start.

    Some of us just don't think that anything is within their own control, they think they are powerless to influence the world around them, even in minute ways. Accordingly, they assign that power to the Lord Jesus Christ. In this way, if things go wrong, they are blameless, and assign poor outcomes to the mysterious workings of the Lord.

    These tortilla worshipers, they fall into this category. They look for Jesus under every rock. And more often than not, they find Jesus in the form of potatoes, grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes and, yes, tortillas.

    Then there are those of us who, while we are believers that Jesus is the son of God, and was sent to earth in human form to effect the salvation of us all, actually understand that Jesus leaves many decisions to each sinner personally, while He concentrates on the big stuff.

    I myself doubt that Jesus would approve of his craven image fried into a grilled cheese sandwich being worhipped. But then again, as I have noted above, I am not a duly ordained minister of the Word.

    After all, what the hell do I know?

  2. Mexicans eat quesadillas, not "grilled cheese sandwiches" – so while Jesus is likely to appear on a quesadilla, his appearance in Mexico is not likely to be on a grilled cheese.

    My mother, bless her heart, is one of those people who rejoices if she goes to the store and oranges are on sale, attributing the price reduction to direct intervention of the Almighty on her behalf. I have a different take on it, but as a sinner, and as one who relies on personal effort to find a parking place, I lense the situation differently – even at Easter.

  3. While I have few deep beliefs (other than agreeing with Wyatt Earp that accuracy is more important than speed) I do enjoy seeing those who believe such things feeling uplifted. Not in a condescending way, who made me a judge, but simply seeing people happy.

  4. I stand corrected on the grilled cheese thing, forgive my ignorance.

    The Almighty may have indeed intervened in those orange prices at the Piggly Wiggly: He spared Florida that freeze that He was contemplating, and a bountiful harvest was the result. Thank God.

    And I seriously doubt the Almighty will ever get Himself involved in the parking business, truth be told. Don't tell my sister that, though.

  5. The face of Jesus on a tortilla does make them very happy – at times so happy that they are willing to fight their way to the front of the crowd. But your point is well taken.

  6. Far be it from me to criticize…except in the case of the Jesus Tortillas – or Hay-Seuss Tortillas as they say South of the border. Oranges – who knows? Take the fact that they're on sale as a good thing, right?

  7. The cynical capitalist in me thought of making a little branding iron for the tortillas and selling them so that the bakers could use them to insure that everyone had a miracle tortilla. I didn't do that but it would have been YUGE.

  8. Heck add a little Hay-Seuss blood (wine) to the Hay-Seuss body (tortilla) and you got it covered, said the heathen catholic…

  9. The face on the tortilla doesn't look like any image of Heasuse that I have ever seen. It looks more like a druggie hippie of the 60's to me. And as long as he didn't scream when I bit down, I bet he would taste good, too.

  10. The Hay-Seuss images are not uniform in the slightest, but yes, I'm sure that the tortillas are delicious.

  11. Would LSP approve of you scarfing down a tortilla with an image of Hay-Seuss on it? I don't know. He hasn't thrown his cracker in the soup yet.

  12. Thanks Be To God that no one has marketed re-fried Jesus Beans for those tortillas.

  13. If Jesus stamps his image on a tortilla, seems to me that he's designating it to be fed to someone poor and hungry, not worshiped. (Besides who would suggest that letting a perfectly good flour tortilla go stale is within God's plan?? Now THAT'S heresy.)

  14. Isn't slapping beans that had to be fried again because you didn't do it right the first time onto the tortilla and covering the face of Hay-Seuss heresy? It might be. But when you add cojita queso, a little pico and some salsa, you do turn it into something that tastes pretty good.

  15. Would the Brits worship tortillas with the image of Jesus on them? I am not qualified to say, but if there was a clown church, we could burn the image into the meringue on top of the pies that are thrown at the faces of the faithful.

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