NOTE: Throughout the Advent season, we’ll post a reflection on the readings for the upcoming Sunday in Advent just a few days before so individuals and groups can reflect in anticipation or incorporate it into their meetings, homilies, etc. The reflection will be available on our homepage through the weekend and then archived on our Advent 2021 webpage.
The reflection below was originally written by Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU in 2012 for our Advent reflection booklet, Voices of Hope, Voices of Wisdom: Reflections for Advent 2012.
by Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU
Stand upon the heights; look to the east and see your children gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God. (Bar 5:5-6)
Moving into the second week of Advent, we have much to think about. In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, the milkman Tevye delivers a funny message with a hidden seriousness: “Traditions, traditions,” says Tevye, “Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as . . . as . . . as a fiddler on the roof!” Might this be said of Catholic Social Teaching as well? Without a collection of living traditions of thought and action rooted in biblical values of authentic justice and peace, our lives would have neither purpose nor direction.
The prophet Baruch summons us to see the children gathered from the east and the west—led away by their enemies. The path they walk is one of uncertainty—still they remain confident that the Holy One remembers them. In response to the multitude of problems of our times, God, through Catholic social doctrine, calls us to advocate for a just society, grounded in Scripture and in the wisdom gathered from the lived experience of the Christian community.
Think for a moment of seventeen-year-old Selam, imprisoned in her home country of Ethiopia, who weathered unimaginable forms of torture. Upon her release she hoped to find refuge in the United States. Her journey took her through ten countries and countless incidents of beatings and abuse. At times she sold her body so she might eat. Selam arrived in the United States only to be detained at the border, then released into the care of a family. “There were periods when I believed God had forsaken me,” says Selam, “but it was in the silence that I would be reminded of God’s promise of mercy to Mary. Oh, I am nothing like Mary—but God remembered me. God looked down on me—a broken and stained girl. God gave me a second chance at life.”
Have you ever “misplaced” God in your life? If you have, how did God remind you that you are not alone, that you are remembered?
In what ways do you see Catholic Social Teaching guiding the ministry of Pax Christi?
On the streets of every large city are young women who have suffered cruelty and may well have done things of which they are ashamed. How might you and your fellow parishioners reach out to them?
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