Social Justice

Advent / Christmas Message 2003: A Reflective Moment in a Time of Distraction

posted on 03/09/03 03:30 pm by Fr. Paul Hansen, C.Ss.R.  

Sometimes to get it right we need to go away in order to be able to come home. Advent/Christmas is a time to leave the Ordinary to anticipate the Possibility, to rediscover hope and courage. These times call for such and more.

I rediscovered the French word: Bricolage. The word means either: do-it-yourself or patchwork. In our climate I prefer patchwork. We find bits and pieces here and there to create meaning. The classical narrative does not speak to our contemporary experience. Together we write our own. This Fall I have been walking about with John 4: 20-25 and a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer ringing in my mind. John writes: “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipper will worship god in spirit and truth.” Bonhoeffer writes: “It is not the religious act which marks the Christian but rather gestures of solidarity with the suffering God in secular life.”

In Mark 14:66 we have Peter denying that he knows Jesus as he warms himself at the fires of empire. In John 21:9 we have Peter on the seashore eating fish with Jesus. At the first fire, Peter denies three times that he knows Jesus. At the second he proclaims three times that he loves Jesus. Our spirits are torn between both locations of fire. In the north of the Americas we live the paradox.

In New York during 9/11 Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury noted that people on airplanes spoke the language of love to their beloved on cell phones while the perpetrators of the dreadful deed spoke explicitly religious language. Which language speaks of God! Incarnation means that God joins the journey in a unique way. Mother Earth and all her children are crying out for Emmanuel. We are the answer to that cry.

Paul E. Hansen

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