Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker that said, “People go to work because they don’t know how to fish!” It was Black Friday morning, and already stores had been open for hours. Some of them opened the night before, on Thanksgiving. Seeing that bumper sticker helped me realize what it is that bothers me so much about that.
Bit by bit, sacred moment by sacred moment, we have eroded our time off, our down time, until we barely know what it is any more. “Remember the
Sabbath day and keep it holy,” the Scriptures say, and add, “or you shall die.”
We human beings, we need down time. We need time to rest, to relax with our families. Time to do nothing. One of the things I’ve learned spending time in the migrant community is the fine art of doing nothing at all. Spending an hour looking for fish in the creek. Sitting and watching a child play. Talking with friends about nothing in particular.
Years ago I visited a friend of my aunt’s who was from Ireland. She gave us tea, and we sat looking at the fire. She commented, “We never just sit and look at the fire, any more.” And that was thirty years ago!
As we end the liturgical year and move into the time of Advent, perhaps we could be aware of the gift the church offers at this time; the gift of silence and waiting. It’s the craziest time of the year, with traditions and parties and shopping and a zillion things to do. But in church it’s the time of blue vestments and an advent wreath that’s lit ever so slowly, just one candle a week. Slow down, if you can. Get away. Spend less. Be in silence more. Let that be your Christmas gift to yourself: peace.
There is not much news from the migrant community this week. Folks have found work, at least for now, and there is hope of a house. The hours are more reasonable, and they are home by 8, sometimes sooner. The family that was driving to Mexico made it as far as the border, and crossed, but after that their phone didn’t work. Nobody is worried about that, and we expect to hear soon that they’ve arrived in Chiapas. Thanks so much for your prayers, and please keep holding them all in your heart. Me, I’m going to write to the president and tell him they need an amnesty.
One more piece of news: Fr Roy Bourgeois, who will be speaking at the showing of “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” this coming Tuesday at the Cinema Theater, received word this past week that he has been dismissed by the Maryknoll order --- dismissed by the Vatican, not the Maryknollers. Apparently the dismissal actually took place on October 4, the Feast of St Francis. I am reminded of when they excommunicated the women who were ordained on the Danube – it was done on the Feast of Mary Magdalene. Come hear Fr Roy and offer him your support. Tickets available through Spiritus: 325-1180.
And come to the Rural Migrant Ministries Dinner, if you will. December 4 at Temple B’rith Kodesh. $50 a plate, and wonderful company! Librada Paz will be honored for her RFK Human Rights Award. Hope to see you there.
Unless, of course, you are taking some time off for Advent peace and stillness.
Love and light to all
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620