I am less unsettled as I sit down to write this than I was a day or two, or even a week or two, ago, but I’m unsettled still. Unimaginably horrific clergy abuse accusations are coming to light. The newest associate justice of the Supreme Court has been sworn in, after a confirmation process that was exhausting, infuriating, and traumatic for many. So it’s true I’ve been hoping for a win. As the old Stevie Wonder song goes, Love’s in need of love today.
As is so often the case, hope answers hope. My faith community, St. Ignatius Parish in San Francisco, has been accompanying a refugee family of six for more than a year. At a special liturgy on September 30, our family and their immigration lawyer gave thanks in English y en Español to parishioners for their generous support. We were excited to introduce our familia and church community to one another; one of our many goals was to offer a direct link to the migrant experience, at a moment fraught with passion that’s often absent the understanding that connection brings.I’ll confess that I was distracted throughout Mass. I was not really listening to the readings, carefully chosen on the special theme of welcoming the stranger. I was instead paying attention to our familia’s sweet youngest boy and his giggly, nervous energy (the children and I were bringing up the gifts). Together we calmed ourselves by reading the church bulletin cover to cover (and not quietly; apologies again, everyone behind us in the third pew!), counting all the images we found, namely the cruces. He then reminded me that our church has crosses everywhere, and got to work counting those laid in over the sanctuary: circle, cruz, circle, cruz. Eternal and infinite, and all around us.
So that’s how you settle down and refocus: you allow family and community to love, guide, and support you; and then you switch places and do it for them; and then you repeat. From Mark 10 we see Jesus saying it plain for us. He reminded his disciples, “Rather, whomever wishes to be great among you, will be your servant; whomever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.”
You who wish to be great will be of service. We are all servants to one another. Love’s in need of love today.
Devi Zinzuvadia is a member of St. Ignatius Parish, a Jesuit parish in San Francisco, where she serves on the parish council and the Solidarity Network @ SIP. She is active in the work of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, most recently serving on the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice steering committee and the planning committee for the Jesuit Parish Justice Summit. She is director of engagement at a community-based youth development nonprofit in the Western Addition, a historically marginalized and under-served part of San Francisco.