But what most alienated Day from her fellow-radicals was her conviction that what was needed was not a violent revolution but “a revolution of the heart,” as she called it: an ability to see Christ in others, and to love others as God loves us. (The New Yorker April 13, 2020 )
Less than 2 weeks to Julian calendar Christmas. The rush is on. Traditions of celebration reverberate throughout society, religious or not, while pandemic restrictions once again hinder our expectations! But our Gospel reflections remind us that this holiday is so much more than a birthday party for a special individual. The birth we celebrate is a cosmic event illuminating the mystery of our existence. The birth of one human child in history unveils the presence of God in all creation throughout time.
This Sunday of our forebears reminds us that we take part in this cosmic reality; and, as the parable of the banquet points out, everyone is invited to the feast. We, (Catholic; Orthodox) are not an elite group receiving God’s favour. The invitations go to even the most rejected people we can imagine, including you and me. Perhaps the parable asks us if we are willing to sit at the table with those whom we see as Other? Do I make excuses to avoid the requirements of living as an authentic Christian, following in Christ’s footsteps? Am I too busy? Too comfortable? Too distracted?
Last week we recognized our weekly actions in the Laudatus Si movement as a continuation of the Church’s social justice mission, represented by (for example) St Nicholas, Andrij Sheptytsky, and our present Church leaders: Sviatoslav and Francis. Currently, the process is underway to canonize Dorothy Day (1897-1980)—the founder of The Catholic Worker. Dorothy Day, was a journalist and radical social activist, concerned for workers and the impoverished. She strove to live the Gospel through bringing hospitality and welcome to the most marginalized of New York City. Her life of service to and with the poorest of society inspired the Catholic Worker movement worldwide. Our local connection to Day is through the Working Centre in Kitchener, which is modeled on her work and philosophy. Throughout the pandemic, the Working Centre has never ceased accelerating its work to welcome those who seem to have lost their place in community: those who are unemployed, hungry, homeless, or fettered by addictions. Our parish community had begun a relationship with the Working Centre pre-COVID, and hope to expand our support once the pandemic stabilizes.
You and I—we together—stand with those here and now, as well as with our forebears, and those whose lives led to the birth of Christ. We stand with them, drawing on their strength and courage in our daily journey of ecological conversion. They help to clear our vision, so that we see with such loving compassion that those around us feel the presence of Christ. All creation awaits the birth and rebirth in every one of us of Christ. Together soon we greet the mystery of the Incarnation. May we be renewed in peace and hope.
“We cannot love God, unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other.
We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore.” (Dorothy Day 1952)