We are grateful to present Rev. Chava’s Christmas reflections that takes place on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the Sunday where the candle we light represents LOVE. For us, Christmas is Love incarnate, God entering human flesh in a new way, in the form of a baby who will grow with the love of his mother and step-father,fulfill messianic prophecies of his people, and experience all that we do. He will laugh and anticipate and fill with joy. He will make many loving relationships with men and women who share his Good News. Some will hold him up and some will let him down, badly. He will be a loving, healing, challenging Presence among us. He will be prophetic and show us the way of his God Father/Mother Who wants no less than justice ,love and peace for us and from us and gives the same. Jesus, Yeshua bar Joseph, will suffer, a lot, and die for his prophetic teachings. Jesus the Christ will be our salvation and our liberator. Death could not hold him. Because of him our life is eternal. Because of him church has happened where God’s family celebrate life and worship together,leaving none behind. The Gospel of such love and life is to be shared with all people. We thank our sister Rev. Chava for braving the snow and icy conditions once again as she brings this Gospel to two men, one of whom is ministering to the other. Thanks be to God for Christmas, thanks be to God for the messengers. You be a messenger too. This is Church and this is a beautiful Christmas celebration.
Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP
with Pastor Judy Beaumont, ARCWP Holding the Candle of Love
Rev. Chava Redonnet’s Reflections
Sunday, December 22, 2013
4th Sunday of Advent
Three years ago when we started St Romero’s in the dining room at St Joe’s, Jim Callan gave me a piece of advice. “Show up, no matter what,” he said. I managed to stick to that for quite a while, but about a year ago there came a time when I had to be away and there was no one to fill in for me. So now when I have to do that, I put signs up all over St Joe’s, put it in the bulletin, and write it on facebook, hoping no one will show up and find there’s no Mass.
This past Sunday was awfully snowy and cold, but I remembered what Jim said, and slogged my way through the snow, wondering if anyone would come to Mass at all. And it was a good thing I did, because two men showed up. One of them was a man who had been there just once before. He is an immigrant from Southeast Asia, who washes dishes at a restaurant nearby. The other is a man who is almost blind, who is often at Mass, and always asks for food. He lives just down the street. As the three of us prepared to start the service, the first man told me that he would have to leave by 11:45 because he had to go to work. My homily was about Nelson Mandela and finding reasons to rejoice (of which his life is one). When it came time for the Eucharistic Prayer, it was already past 11:30. I cut out some of the prayers so that we’d all be able to have communion together. We shared communion, and then the man from the restaurant was putting on his coat, getting ready to leave. He started fiddling with a bag that I hadn’t realized was his. The bag turned out to contain food from the restaurant that he had brought for the man who is almost blind.
“Oh, thank you! You brought me food!” he said. But as the other man was on his way out the door, the blind man added, “It’s not as much as last week!”
“He’ll hear you!” I told him.
“Well, it isn’t!”
I don’t think the man from the restaurant heard him. (Phew!)
He wanted to sing “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and even though it’s still Advent we sang it, because that’s what he wanted. And it was joyful and beautiful, just as it was.
This week we read of Joseph, getting the news that things were not as they were supposed to be. His bride-to-be was pregnant, and he knew he wasn’t the father. He must have been a mature person with a good heart, because he decided to divorce her quietly and not put her to shame. Then an angel showed up! And told him that this messed-up version of family was exactly the way God wanted it to be. And he was to name the baby “God is with us.” Emmanuel.
I think our little church is exactly the way God wants it to be, too. We’re small, we’re grouchy sometimes, but these beautiful moments happen, these moments of grace. It’s really church… like Jesus said, wherever two or more gather in his name, there he is with us. God-is-with-us.
Please pray for one of the guys in our migrant church, who will be spending Christmas in the Detention Center. On Monday I kept getting these strange calls with a recorded woman’s voice speaking in Spanish. About the third or fourth call I figured out they were coming from the Detention Center, and a call or two later figured out what I was required to do to accept the call. It was a big relief because I knew he was there but hadn’t been able to reach him. It turned out he had court on Wednesday and needed help. I called a lawyer friend who is representing a number of folks from our church. He said he couldn’t be there but instructed me on what to tell our friend to say, that he had a lawyer but had only found him the day before, and he needed an extension. Tuesday night I was worried because I had no way to call him, was waiting for his call so I could explain what he was to do, and he hadn’t called. I asked friends to pray! And they did. And the phone rang! We went over and over what he was to do, and the next day he went in to court alone and asked for the extension, and got it. He will go to court on January 6, and the lawyer will ask for bond. Then we have to find a way to raise the bond, so stay tuned! I will visit him Saturday.
One thing you can say about St Romero’s. We may be tiny, but it’s never a dull moment!!
Love and light and peace as you celebrate Christmas. May there be lots of JOY!!