Mother, Brother, Sister
Sr. Phyllis Jaszkowiak
June 10, 2018
10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This April I made a Pilgrimage / Retreat in Assisi, Italy. One of the places we visited was Greccio, the small mountain town where St. Francis first enacted the Birth of Christ with live people and animals. One of the displays was a room of Christmas crèches from around the world. As I looked from one crèche to another, I finally began to notice that the people in the crèche, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, shepherds, angels, looked like the country from which the crèche was sent. Those from South Africa, Japan, Native American, countries of Europe, the people looked like people from that country and wore the clothes of that country.
As I looked the words leapt from my mouth, “We ARE all one.” As Jesus says, “Here are my mother and my brothers, and my sisters. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” We are all one in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes it is hard for us to believe we are one. We look different, have different rituals, dress differently, speak different languages and we have different skin color. Yet we are all one. We are one because we are all human beings, whom God brought to birth and loves each and every one of us with a love that is full of life. In that is our oneness.
Sometimes our fears get in the way of this knowing we are one. We fear we will be losers and someone else will be winners. We fear we will not have enough, or that only there will be enough for our group, so we hoard and do not share. Fear has led to war, to ethnic cleansing, to white supremacy, to denying human rights to immigrants. We phrase it in comments that those “others” are taking our jobs, using up our Social Services, or other such falsehoods. Fear holds us back from knowing we are brothers and sisters to each other. We fight each other because of fear and we see enemies instead of brother and sister.
As Amanda Haas wrote in America Magazine, “When we reason away the rights of others, we lose a piece of our own humanity.”
Our task is to drop our fears, to come to know the God who gives with such abundance that there is always enough for all. As Gabe said a few Sundays ago, we have to let go of all the things we don’t need, and seek instead the ONE THING we do need – GOD.
When we find God, we find we have everything we need. It takes some growing to find God. It takes more growing to let go of the things we don’t need. It takes more growing to believe we have enough, and that we are enough!
St. Francis, St. Clare and my foundress Blessed Mare Rose, all grew into this realization – God is enough and we in God are enough.
Some of the people of their day thought they were crazy, out of their minds, like Jesus’ family thought he was out of his mind.
I think, though, that the more Jesus taught, the more some of his family began to grow, for they were some of the 120 people in the upper room who received the Spirit at Pentecost.
Today we welcome our sisters and brothers from Eritrea who lead us in this celebration. They teach us that there are different ways of praising God and share their gifts with us. We are both enriched. Our God who makes us all one, makes us one through the diverse gifts God gives to each of us and each of our communities.
Let us rejoice in this wonderful gift of oneness through diversity. Let us be real sisters and brothers to each other.
Amanda Haas, “Searching for Meaning in a World Without Consequences”. AMERICA MAGAZINE May 14, 2018. Page 56.
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