Hope is bold

by Fr. Raymond Collier

Columban Fr. Ray Collier shares a few of his reflections concerning the coronavirus pandemic.

For me the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of humanity. Yet, it is this vulnerability of humanity, that makes the world safe for humanity, once it is listened to and not ignored. As Pope Francis said in Laudato Si, ‘everything is connected’ and as he said in “Fratelli Tutti”, his latest encyclical, ‘everyone is connected’.

As the former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said on one occasion; “A nation is strong when it cares for the weak, it becomes rich when it cares for the poor, it become as invulnerable when it cares about the vulnerable.”

For me, it has been a remarkable sign of hope, how a vulnerable people, sought security and support in loving their neighbour by volunteering for various projects and groups, reaching out to the other in their need. In doing so they experienced a renewal of their humanity and hope.

While the pandemic did not distinguish between people, it has highlighted great social inequalities, discrimination and environmental degradation which go together, provoked by the forces of inhumanity, who continue to remain profitable and maintain their power through control of the digital media and online communications.

It is those who reach out, seeking to be a counter cultural sign in our times, by crossing divides, boundaries and suspicions to embrace the other in their needs, that build lifegiving relationships and vibrant alternatives to the mainstream versions of the good life.

I’ll finish with a quote from Pope Francis’ latest encyclical, “I invite everyone to renewed hope, for hope ‘speaks to us of something deeply rooted in every human heart, independently of our circumstances and historical conditioning. Hope speaks to us of a thirst, an aspiration, a longing for a life of fulfilment, a desire to achieve great things, things that fill our heart and life our spirit to lofty realities like truth, goodness and beauty, justice and love…Hope is bold; it can look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and it can open us up to grand ideals that make life more beautiful and worthwhile.’ “Let us continue, then, on this path of hope.” (Fratelli Tutti, section 55)

With you all in thought and prayer this Christmas. May God’s blessings be yours for Christmas and for the coming year, as we remember that God emptied Himself to be a human being and we empty ourselves to be Christ like.

Fr. Ray Collier with members of the Columban Lay Mission team