“What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
2011 brought a myriad of unrest in Arab Countries in the Middle East, including Egypt where Mary and Joseph fled in Matthew’s Gospel that we heard this Wednesday. Syria, a significant site in the Bible from Abraham to St. Paul’s conversion, has also overflowed with violence since early spring. At year’s end, the United Nations has challenged Syria’s government to end the bloodshed and imprisonment of its own citizens.
Today’s Gospel brought to mind an email I received earlier this week from a Jesuit who lives and works in Syria, particularly with CLC. In the midst of the suffering of the human race he experiences daily, he recognizes glimmers of hope, and signs that God remains Incarnate in the people of Syria.
“We are certainly living some historical moments in this country, and that’s for sure: things will never be the same again afterwards. Our Christmas festival here was of course quite unique this year. In fact, there were no celebrations at all, because, for safety reasons, people tend to stay at home as much as possible…But when we do find the courage to get together, we have the chance to share our experiences and even our fears with each other. This then makes us see the situation in a different, usually less dramatic perspective… It is so encouraging to discover that there are so many people around the world expressing their concern and sympathy with us. This really stimulates us to carry on and helps us to believe that there is Someone out there who cares and who is able to change our troubles into blessings.”
At the close of 2011, I thank God for the safety of my own family, and the privilege to gather with others on this journey rather than walking alone. I ask for the grace and courage to be “Someone out there who cares” for all people in my own life and in the world. I ask to be a visible reminder that in small ways the darkness has not overcome the light which Christ enfleshed in this world.
Farewell 2011, Welcome 2012. May 2012 be filled with Life!
reflected by Jen Horan