1992: Queen Elizabeth’s Annus Horibilis (Horrible Year) – 2020: The World’s Annus Horribilis
The looming prediction of climate disaster in 2025? The world threat of coronavirus? The growing problems of homelessness and addiction? The deepening gulf between the rich and the poor? The debasing of democracies and four more years of Donald J Trump?
Why do I find myself singing Barry McGuire’s famous 1965 song of the Vietnam War era….”And you tell me over and over and over again my friend, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”
Thankfully, three hopeful thoughts recently popped into my mind to balance these anxieties. First, an article on refugees reminded me of the sense of joy and hope that many of us felt several years ago when Canada welcomed thousands of refuges from the Syrian wars.
Second, I work as a volunteer at a church organized Drop In. Every Sunday we provide a hot nutrious meal to about 200 poor people. Working with the poor gives me the grace of going to church twice on Sunday: once in the morning, and later in the afternoon at the Drop In.
Third, I participated recently in a presentation about the scourge of meth addiction. The founder of a home that provides shelter, food, and long term assistance to such addicts mentioned the many difficulties she and her clients face. To which a wise nun who has been helping the poor in Winnipeg for many, many years replied”… it may seem difficult, but you are doing HOLY work!
“Holy” is a word seldom used today, yet “holy” fits these ministries to addicts, the hungry, and the refugees perfectly. In his parable of the Last Judgment, this is exactly the type of work that Jesus encouraged his followers to do:
“For I was hungry and you gave me food;
I was thirsty and you gave me drink;
I was a stranger and you made me welcome;
naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me,
in prison and you came to see me….
I tell you solemnly, as you did this to one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.
…and the virtuous will go away to eternal life.”
Maybe I should be singing a more thankful and hopeful song such as:
“Be not afraid, I go before you always.
Come follow me and I will give you rest.”