As I write this I have just returned from my days off; I went to Bethlehem, one of my favourite places in this land. Yesterday was my first time to enter the grotto where tradition tells us that Jesus was born and be completely by myself. While there I prayed for us: for each of us who make up Assumption parish, and for our needs. Today I went back, to request some Masses, and one of the Franciscans asked me to hear his confession. I was humbled and honoured to be reminded of our humanity in the very place where God took flesh and became a human being. We are all flawed, and yet our God understands and forgives.
I need to constantly remind myself of that while I’m here. Our work with CPT involves monitoring checkpoints where school children and their teachers pass every day, and then walking some kindergarten kids up a treacherous path and then past some soldiers. I find it so easy to judge others, and yet the experience in Bethlehem reminds me that we are all human, we all have flaws. It is hard to be nice to the soldiers who have just harassed a teacher who passes every single day, but today they tell him his name is not on the list, so he cannot pass. It is hard not to judge the Israeli settler who shoots me nasty looks as he walks by, or the Border Police commander who pushes my teammate and says that he has decided that CPT is not allowed in the area today. Yet God sees all the things that have happened to us, and knows all our past, and understand why we sometimes lash out at others inappropriately. God, because he knows all, is able to forgive all.
It is easy to lose hope, when things seem to get worse instead of better. Yet in this weekend’s gospel passage, Jesus reminds us that we are to be persistent. And I think that if I keep praying, it may not change God, but it will change me. Among other things, it will give me the strength to be a sign of hope in a situation where hope is desperately needed. Today, I choose to be like the persistent widow, who never lost hope. How about you?