This Second Sunday of Advent, the Responsorial Psalm expresses a deep desire for the day when “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss” (Psalm 85:11). I have always found this line incredibly, strikingly beautiful. In nearly every corner of our community, there is a tremendous felt need for the meeting of kindness and truth, for justice and peace. From our pews to our school desks, in our homes and on our sports fields, in the public square to the back room, from the legislators’ floor to the judge’s bench, we need the holy marriage of kindness & truth, of justice & peace. With each of them – kindness, truth, justice, peace, it is only too easy to veer too drastically to one side or the other. Yet, Kindness divorced from the truth is anything but kind. And the holy pursuit of peace through justice without the handholding temper of mercy is hard-hearted and unforgiving. This brings the power of the poetic voice of the Psalmist, the gentle meeting, the holy kiss of their proper unions, to the fore. This is the gift of a life in faith. This is all made possible in the realer than real union of the Bridegroom and the Bride, of Christ and the Church, of the Gospel and newness of Life.
A simple way of showing kindness in truth, as we move into the winter seasons, is to be aware of our health and that of our neigbhors. While I want you here in Mass – you need to be here at Mass in justice - if you are sick, please don’t share. Be honest and truthful with yourself and build peace within the community. If there is a good chance you can share your cough, cold, C19, then please stay home. Knowing me, this isn’t said lightly. Yet, a truthful kindness recognizes the vulnerablity of some of our population. The reverse is likewise true. If you are healthy enough to go to eat, the sports field, shopping, then in truth you are well enough to be here.
During the season of Advent, we have many opportunities to marry justice and peace in our charitable giving. Sometimes we don’t think of it this way, but extending our blessings to others when we have so very much, is an act of justice that brings and builds greater peace “in our hearts and in the world”, as Msgr Marchino liked to say. And certainly there are many opportunites, even right here at Holy Family. The St Vincent de Paul Angel Tree program provides not just smiles but basic subsistance for many in-need families in our community. I know many of you enjoy the feel-good of this type of giving. It too is a place of justice & peace.
In their humble circumstances, Juan and Rafaela Lopez long for this day of justice and peace. For example, there is no justice in the family having to live in a flimsy wooden shack that can’t even keep out the rain. And there is no justice if Juan and his son, Leonardo, working in the fields for 10 hours a day to earn the equivalent of $10. Despite these terrible hardships, Juan and his family of five want to live out the message of Psalm 85 each day, so they try to fill their humble home with peace. They live the truth of the Gospel and extend kindness in the family and beyonod. With the help of her 13-year-old daughter Doris, Rafaela lovingly prepares meals on the family’s wood-burning stove, and at lunchtime, her 11-year-old son, Roby, walks two miles each way to deliver meals to his dad and older brother at the farm. Rafaela knows that the family’s need is so great that only the Lord can deliver them. “We want for God’s will, and we ask him to send people to give donations for houses.”
The day of Jesus’ return will indeed be the day when “justice and peace shall kiss,” and the struggles of poor families will finally be over. Until then, the Lord blesses the suffering poor through the kindness of us alert to the truth of their plight. By coming together in love as the Body of Christ on earth, we foreshadow the day of justice and peace to the Lopez family.
Holy Family Parish is striving to build a new home for a family in need by partnering with Cross Catholic Outreach – Guatemala Home Project. Donations can be dropped off in the offering at Mass by putting “Guatemala Home” in the check memo line or by contributing to the appeal on Faith Direct (the Holy Family e-giving site).
+ Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God. +
Holy Family, Where Kindness & Truth Meet, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries