Joseph was told, “Do not be afraid.”
Mary too, was told, “Do not be afraid.”
How important these four words are for me, too, especially in moments when I find myself unsure, or nervous, or in fear. When I feel abandoned, or when I find myself faced with difficult experiences throughout periods of transition, I am reminded too, to not be afraid.
I can not imagine how Mary and Joseph felt as they journeyed on their own, seeking to find a place for Mary to give birth to baby Jesus. Did they feel alone? Or were they comforted by their faith and hope in God? Did they cry out to God for answers, wondering if anyone would come to their aid and support them in their struggle? Would anyone extend compassion and make space for them in their homes and in their hearts?
In this fourth week of the Advent season, we can especially take time to think of the members in our communities, maybe our family members or friends who may have felt afraid, unheard, unseen, alone or abandoned. How can we make room for the poor and vulnerable individuals in our lives? Those in our close proximity, and those whom we may never meet? How can we not only provide them with our time and resources, but further, how can we work towards ensuring that just policies are in place and are upheld within structures which preserve the dignity of each human person?
This week, we especially pray for refugees, victims of injustice and oppression, and all who may feel afraid and alone this holiday season. May we continue to call upon Emmanuel, even beyond Christmas, and remind ourselves and one another that God is and will be forever with us.
Crystal Catalan serves as the director of community involvement and the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Presentation High School in San Jose, CA. She has degrees from University of San Diego and Eastern University, and previously served as a missioner with Cabrini Mission Corps in New York, the Philippines, Swaziland, and Radnor, PA at Cabrini University. She is currently pursuing her masters in pastoral ministries with an emphasis in restorative justice and chaplaincy at Santa Clara University.