During the 1970s, I obtained a degree in Modern Languages/Translation from the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières. One day, on returning from vacation, I arrive in class to find my East Indian professor already there. I show him my arm and said, “Look at my nice tan." He put his arm next to mine and said, “I'm more tanned than you are; my tan is 2,000 years old.” I laughed, but I also thought about it: his millennial tan was beautiful and brought to life the history of all the generations that had preceded him.
In 1990, I set up a refugee outreach committee in my parish in Ottawa to support newcomers arriving to Canada. During this experience, I got to known people from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Colombia and more, all tanned and beautiful. Also, Blacks from Africa, even more tanned and as beautiful.
Thanks to the formation in respect for others that I received as an Oblate in the Institute, and the insight gleaned from my Indian professor, it is easy for me to see these people, whether born in Canada or elsewhere, as sisters and brothers, beautiful and lovable, and with respect for all that they have to teach me about life.
The synodal process, which is deeply relevant to us all, invites us to reach out to each other and to walk together as sisters and brothers. A saying of an American New Age guru comes to mind: Together we walk each other home; it expresses well the orientation Pope Francis wants to implant in the whole Church from the grassroots up.
May the Lord bless us and may the Holy Spirit accompany us on our journey towards solidarity and synodality where no one, without exception, is forgotten.
photo: Ralphs_Fotos de Pixabay