Yesterday, I went to a Baptist church to listen to some volunteer aid workers who went to Tunisia on the 5th of March to help feed the refugees from Libya. They showed us a multitude of workers, mostly from Bangladesh, patiently queueing for food while they wait to be repatriated.
The volunteers worked out a system so that distributing food would take only one second per person. This was because they had to feed about 17,000 people a day! How do you prepare food for such a throng? What a staggering quantity! The ladies said they had to start cleaning tons of vegetables from 6 AM. I admire their courage and readiness to leave the comfort of home and brave the dangers of war to help others. Equally wondrous is the generosity of so many who have continuously given the needed supplies.
We’ve seen and heard the devastating earthquake in Japan, the tsunami which swallowed Sendai and the nuclear reactors blowing up in smoke. The quiet dignity and calm of the Japanese people confronted with such a calamity is simply amazing. We have a community of 6 sisters in Sendai who are all safe. Thankfully, the convent remained standing and they have recounted the kindness of so many people, providing food and water and sharing with one another. They have remained optimistic and decided to stay there to be with their people.
Today, as we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation, we remember a young woman who listened to God’s word and said yes to something unknown and uncertain with great hope. At a young age, she did not fully know herself nor her potential. But she had faith in God. She knew him in the stories she heard about her people, in the Scriptures she read, and in the life of her family and community. And she said yes.
Today, that same yes is echoed by other Marys who listen to the Lord in their heart, and courageously go out of their comfort zone to respond to other’s needs: the volunteer aid workers, the valiant Japanese people, the soldiers ensuring the safety of civilians, a mother waking up in the middle of the night to nurse and comfort her baby or ailing child, a cancer patient valiantly facing the deadly cells with optimism and humour, a missionary fighting bouts of loneliness and helplessness, an overseas worker sweating it out and facing unjust labour conditions to provide for their family, or a child giving up sweets for Lent so she can give something to the poor.
And each time, Jesus is made incarnate. The power of the Most High covers us with its shadow.The seed of love is planted. It grows and bears fruit of 30, 50 and a hundredfold!
Happy feastday to all, especially to the Annunciatinas!