The Feast of the Annunciation can go unnoticed, especially within Lent. Christmas overshadows the unfathomable event of the Incarnation. God uniquely entered humanity and the world when Mary said YES! Jesus ushers in an incarnated faith that seeks reconciliation and justice. Rituals are insufficient. It’s about ‘whatever you do to the least…’
Today’s second reading states:
For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight…” (Heb. 10: 5-6)
So, what delights God? We can look to Jesus in the Gospels to recall his priorities, his focus, his way of proceeding. Many holy people can remind us of Jesus.
As director of the Encuentro Project, a border immersion program, I’m regularly affected by witnessing the recurring paradox of how unjust human suffering brings out love and solidarity in many.
In Anapra, Juarez, a small group of impoverished women who have battled cancer started a sewing cooperative to support themselves since they cannot hold a physically demanding factory job. When MPP—the Remain in Mexico policy—was implemented, these women of Junt@s Vamos (together we journey) opened up their nascent cooperative to women (with children) asylum seekers from Central America who are vulnerably waiting in Juarez for months. The women, in turn, send the proceeds from their embroidered handbags to needier family members in their home countries. All in our immersion group cannot but be profoundly moved by the authentic solidarity.
Let God inspire you to show you how we can delight God. Let’s not routinely repeat what we’ve done during Lent, or give up something that might be inconsequential. There’s much suffering around us. How is God calling you to become aware, reflect, and act?
Fr. Rafael Garcia, S.J., a Jesuit of the UCS Province, serves in El Paso, Texas, in pastoral care at ICE detention center and Southwest Key for unaccompanied minors. He is also the director of The Encuentro Project, a border immersion and educational program. Fr. Rafael is the incoming pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, adjacent to the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez border, where he previously served as pastor from 1994-2007.