Every meal is a time for thanksgiving. As we enjoy the vegetables and fruit that fill our plates we can be thankful for the 2.5 million farmworkers who sacrificed health and living wages to provide meals for families around the country. Most of the time I do not think of that reality until I receive an urgent message. Recently I received such a message from the United Farm Workers: "Speak out to protect farmworkers."
An estimated 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and thousands of farmworkers experience the effects of acute pesticide poisoning, including headaches, nausea, shortness of breath and seizures. Many times pesticides lead to cancer, infertility and neurological problems.
"MARY" "RABBOUNI!" I have called you by name—you are mine. My sheep know my voice…
Mary, whose eyes were dim with disappointment and blurred with grief and tears and whose imagination couldn’t reach as far as Risen from the dead--
Mistook Jesus the Christ for the gardener until he called her name. "Mary" he said, and his voice rang in her like a bell---opened ears she didn’t know she had, both stunned her and embraced her in depths she had never plumbed.
"RABBOUNI" she gasped, perhaps In a voice she didn’t recognize as her own. In that moment, all had changed. Jesus wasn’t just Jesus –and she was not plain Mary anymore
"Peace will come when we love our children more than we hate our enemies." - Golda Meir
Watching the news recently requires nerves of steel, aspirin nearby, as well as a positive attitude that things can change. Within a few weeks we have viewed the horror of remnants of a commercial airline with 298 people aboard being shot down by militant separatists in Ukraine. While the world deals with this shock, Israel invades Gaza. Over 500 Palestinians are killed and over 3,000 injured. Food, medical supplies, and water are in short supply. Even though Iraq is not in the headlines, Iraqi citizens are still suffering as ISIS remains a threat. All this, while children from Central America flee the violence that threatens the lives of many.
As I listened to Sr. Sandra Schneiders, IHM, talk about how Jesus had invited some of his disciples to drop everything and follow Him (like Matthew the tax collector) and other disciples to change how they treated people in the places where they lived (like Zacchaeus), I realized this might be a good way to begin a vocation talk. Jesus needs both itinerant disciples and householder disciples. He himself had no place to call his own. He traveled with his band of followers, both men and women, but they relied on his householder disciples for places to lodge and likely, for food to eat.
The conference "Preaching the Mystery of Faith and the New Evangelization" ( Notre Dame, June 2014), opened with the keynote address by Timothy Radcliffe, OP, who began his presentation with reflection on conversation, in his eyes, the most common and necessary tool of all evangelization. Christian dialogue, carried on in every arena imaginable - small scripture group to interfaith understanding to national policy - promises an event of grace; a participation in the ongoing dialogue of God with humanity, and the eternal conversation of the Trinity.
Last Saturday, July 12, Dominican Sisters of Peace Juanita Henley, Barbara Catalano, Amy McFrederick and Alicia Alvarado joined Associates Dora Harper and Lydia Gonzales and some 3 to 500 others who participated in a Walk for Justice organized in Cleveland, OH, by Sr. Rita Mary Harwood, SND, Secretariat for Parish Life and Development, and the Walk Committee. Those who joined in this prayer and demonstration publicly identified themselves as "those who stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters, using our voices calling for revision to our broken immigration system, calling for humane and just laws which respond to the needs of today, remembering where we have come from and why, and recognizing our story repeated in the lives of the immigrants of today."
I will never forget a bulletin board that one of my teachers put up when I was in high school. I remember walking into the classroom and seeing that there was a new saying on the wall that read, "Not to decide is to decide." At first I didn't know what the sentence meant, and then all at once it hit me! I doubt I heard much of what took place during the rest of the class, because my mind stayed focused on that sentence along with whatever my 'pending decisions' were which promptly flooded into my conscious mind. What was I was putting off? Had I in fact already made some decisions, because I hadn’t actually said “yes” or "no?"
Last week I attended the national meeting of OP Promoters of Preaching, which we dovetailed with the 2014 Marten Program Conference: "Preaching the New Evangelization," June 25-27, 2014 at the University of Notre Dame. Our meeting was held on Wednesday afternoon, and the Conference opened on Wednesday evening.
After our check-in, introductions, and some business matters, we entered into a period of Lectio Divina and shared insights about our reflection on the scripture passage and how we tended to God's Word or were tended to by the Word.