The light shines in the darkness (Jn 1, 5)
Providence never abandons believers during nights of doubts and dangers. For those with faith, the menacing darkness is an opportunity to receive light. It is because salvation requires, in the first place, night’s retreat and calm (cf Is 30, 15). Of course, we are likewise expected to cooperate and follow God’s instruction. But we will not know it without the recollection and quiet that are necessary to hear God.
The angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to righteous Joseph, troubled by an impending divorce. Now the angel tells him in a dream of Herod’s plot. Later on, the Holy Family will leave Egypt for Galilee to settle down in Nazareth, in accordance with two more angelic interventions in dreams. The Magi from the East were warned too in a dream, so they did not return to Herod, the chief priests and the scribes.
God instructs us also who are afflicted with so many evils, such as the grave violations of fundamental human rights, wars, inequality, poverty, injustice, individualism, egocentrism and consumerism (Pope Francis, Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace). And certainly the Pope is a messenger that God makes use of in order to call us out of darkness into his marvelous light. His exhortations are very valuable for a prayerful reflection—in the retreat and silence of Nazareth (Paul VI)—that is geared toward a life of doing good. Through Pope Francis, God reveals to today’s world salvation and blessing, the meaning of the name of Mary’s son.
The blessing that saves does not come either from palaces, or from wealth and power, or from the certainty of experts. It has nothing in common with indifference to other people’s sufferings.
The self-sufficient and the indifferent deny that we are all children of God. But we are, and we have responsibility for each other. In this regard, our model is the Holy Family, where love reigns, which forbids all domination and manifests itself in respect, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, peace, thankfulness.
And these virtues of the family mean that, if we are before a situation of misery similar to that which St. Vincent de Paul faced in Chatillôn, we will do as he did. That is to say, we will be the sacraments of our merciful Father and effective instruments of relief. We will see to it also that others do the same, so that, with so many people helping, we could speak of a procession (Coste IX, 243), the Eucharist being its source and summit.
Ross Reyes Dizon
Tags: A Vincentian reading of the Sunday readings, Holy Family