Advent and Christmas and the first year of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
I love the joyous Good News of Advent and Christmas, including St. Luke’s story about the Angel Gabriel’s visit to deliver a message to a virgin named Mary . Gabriel says:
“Hail full of grace ! The Lord is with you ….
Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.He will be great,
and will be called the Son of the Most High….
Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord..”
Being a servant of the Lord was sometimes very painful for Mary. Her son Jesus was born in a manger and she , her husband Joseph , and their baby had to flee their home because of King Herod’s death threats. Jesus’ cousin John had his head cut off. And later, Mary watched the crucifixion of her son by Roman soldiers. Thankfully, Mary also witnessed the new life and Resurrection of Jesus.
However, along with these joyful religious celebrations that mark the end of 2021, it is hard to remember 3 sad stories that dominated our news this year ; the millions of people who have died from COVID 19 …and the disastrous world weather signs…and the recent painful history of Canadian Indigenous people ie) the unmarked graves of hundreds of children from Indian Residential Schools.
On the hope side of 2021, people are being inoculated against the pandemic, countries are taking steps to save our world, and on September 30, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation which declares:
“The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools
is a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
On September 24, the Catholic Bishops of Canada declared:
“We acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed by some members
of our Catholic Community ; physical, psychological, emotional , spiritual, cultural and sexual…We the Catholic Bishops of Canada express our profound remorse and apologize unequivocally.”
This December, Pope Francis will be meeting with Indigenous leaders from Canada. They hope to convince the pope to visit Canada soon, and to apologize for the roll played by some in the Catholic community in this “tragic and painful history” of Indigenous people.To me, this is very Good News for 2021. Hallelujah!