- Fr. John Jennings
Our Sacred Stories Solidarity Sunday: Standing with the Threatened and Vulnerable
This Sunday is Solidarity Sunday. Each year on the 5th Sunday of Lent, our Canadian Catholic Church reflects on our Christian call to stand in solidarity with the poor, the oppressed, the suffering in our world. It is a reflection on our call to be a people of faith living the Gospel. Filled with the spirit of Jesus, we stand in our world as signs of his presence. Through us, the message and mission of Jesus continues to be proclaimed to all peoples, as Jesus did, in word and in action.
Listening to the Gospel this Sunday (John 8:1-11) we are drawn into the story of Jesus and his encounter with a group of scribes and Pharisees. In an effort to trip him up, they have brought before him a woman caught in adultery. They pose a question to him, asking if he agrees with what the law of Moses demanded – that she must be stoned to death.
Before Jesus is standing one who is unable to defend herself. She is indeed the most threatened and vulnerable. She is without rights and without an advocate. Accused of sin, she finds no forgiveness and is isolated and rejected by the community. She is lost and her life will be taken from her.
Only Jesus stands with her. He stands in solidarity with her. In doing so, Jesus brings to her an immediate salvation. His silent response by a loving reconciling presence brings her forgiveness and restoration to the community. He saves her in so many ways. She is freed from the bondage of injustice. She is forgiven her sin and failings. She is raised to new life possibilities. She is restored to a place in the community of God’s People.
Our faith and our faith tradition call us to be this Jesus acting in our world. John’s telling of this story highlights the wonder of Jesus’ healing, reconciling presence. All of the Gospel healing stories reveal the same Jesus. He feels the pain and the suffering of the threatened and vulnerable. He brings them out of pain and suffering restoring them to wholeness and holiness. He reconciles them, bringing them back into the community. He stands in solidarity with them in their struggle and through his presence, shares their challenge with compassion and with love.
This is the Jesus of our faith. This is who we are called to be. It is our identity as a Christian people. At our baptism, we received the spirit of this Jesus. It made us sharers in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, every one of us. In this priesthood we stand with the poor, the broken, the rejected, the suffering, the oppressed of our world. In particular, this year, we stand with the people of Ukraine. Sinners we are, but we are also healers and reconcilers. As a baptized priesthood we believe and commit ourselves:
- to God, who loves us, all of us unconditionally
- to Jesus, in his life, death and resurrection
- to the Spirit who has gives us and sustains us in life
- to our call as priests of Jesus Christ, in solidarity with all who face poverty, injustice oppression, violence and sin in our world.
THIS WE BELIEVE