By SISTER LIZ SULLY, Commentary | Published December 22, 2011
Advent is this great season of leaning into the future with hope in the heart and a deep longing for a world of peace, compassion and justice. How can we not be on Jesus’ journey bent on turning swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks?
At every turn in the road, adversarial personalities and events sought to disrupt, if not destroy, the message and the Messenger, Jesus. Consider the trek to Bethlehem, Egypt, Judea and Jerusalem. Traveling can be hazardous to one’s health. The journey of Joseph, Mary and others toward Bethlehem gets lost in our warm homes and romanticized stable setting. Bethlehem offered straw in a barn, not a holiday inn.
Jesus’ birth is followed by the family fleeing into Egypt, crossing the border to save their lives. Later in the Gospel the fellow on the road to Jericho gives us another journey account, the Samaritan’s, and Jesus asks, “Who was the neighbor?” A multitude of undocumented have made the trek across the U.S. southern border looking for safety, seeking shelter, and searching for a way of life that can better support human dignity.
I recently returned from a Dominican solidarity trip to Mexico under the auspices of the Cuernavaca Center for Intercultural Dialogue. The image of a resilient people, steeped in Jesus’ dynamic of commitment to faith in the God of Love and in the conviction of the neighbor being the Face of God, pierces any cloud of uncertainty about where the majority of the Mexican people stand. Many have lost confidence in their government, police and military. Due to their experience of corruption, violence and the drug cartels, resistance groups are arising, walking and amassing strength through solidarity along the way. The Gospel is about human rights, the dignity of persons and loving the neighbor.
Advent trekking is about a journey, so how has this Advent been different from any other? What am I open to? This is a question that challenges adult faith and gives a reason for the season.
Sister Liz Sully, a Sinsinawa Dominican, is a stained glass artist.