The fatigue associated with the practices designed to keep us healthy is real. Being sure a mask is always available, staying at least 6 feet apart from those outside of our immediate circle is not easy or fun. We want to congregate, pray together, eat and drink together, but for now we cannot do these things on the level we so enjoyed and in retrospect took for granted prior to the pandemic.
We continue to be called to patience and creativity as we meet in person and virtually this year. Over the summer, my sister was ordained an Episcopal priest and my father turned 100 years old; both major milestones. Somehow, but not in the manner we are accustomed to, the milestones were noted. From afar we “attended” my sister’s ordination via the Internet, and we hosted a drive-by birthday party in the front yard for my father. Neither was what we had hoped or planned for, however, in the end each was meaningful. And so, it will be for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and every other event celebrated between now and end of 2020.
Today’s readings have a recurring theme of feasts and celebrations. They remind us that God provides both “rich food and choice wine,” and will “wipe away the tears from every face.” Paul admits to living in good times and in bad times: “I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.” The King, the host of what was meant to be quite a fancy wedding feast, ends up inviting people off the streets to his party.
God is present in the abundance and in the need providing but not quite in the way we might plan or want. Could God be asking us to think and act outside of our own secure and comfortable boxes this holiday season?
Writing The Margins
Our Administrative Assistant Martha Barajas will from time to time be sharing readings she encounters in the course of her studies and journey of faith . . .
In my initial reading of Fratelli Tutti, I am struck by Francis's repeated reminder that I can hope to attain wisdom only by "direct encounter." A true wisdom grounded in my willingness to be silent, in my cultivating of an interior silence that allows me to remain selflessly attentive to another human person. "Encounter" is a familiar word in Francis's vocabulary, so it is not surprising that it makes an important appearance in his most recent document. It serves the fraternal theme of the encyclical in that he makes clear that it is only through genuine encounter that I can come to recognize my relationship to every created thing in the universe. A relationship that exists not because the Roman Pontiff espouses an airy fairy form of wishful thinking, but because the relationship Francis continually evokes is the holy work of the Triune God. This relationship is not about me. It includes me. It invites me to action in the service of the common good. And this relationship includes all of creation, inviting everything and everyone, calling us to recognize our part in it, and offering both spiritual and physical nourishment to all. Do I invite others to rejoice and to work for this relationship, even if this means giving up a portion of what I have more than enough, so that another can have enough, too? Have I the heart to recognize injustice, the humility to accept my culpability in it, and the courage to act, even if that means rejecting the values and esteem of this world?