Pic source: www.lds.org
Solidarity refers to a union of interests, purposes or sympathies among members of a group. In the Millennium Declaration world leaders agreed that solidarity was a value that was important to international relations in the 21st century. In light of globalization and growing inequality, the UN realized that strong international solidarity and cooperation was needed to achieve its Millennium Development Goals. The UN was founded on the idea unity and harmony via the concept of collective security that relies on its members’ solidarity to unite for international peace and security.
On December 22, 2005, the UN General Assembly proclaimed that International Solidarity Day would take place on December 20 each year. The event aimed to raise people’s awareness of the importance of advancing the international development agenda and promoting global understanding of the value of human solidarity. The assembly felt that the promotion of a culture of solidarity and the spirit of sharing was important in combating poverty.
The theme chosen by Pope Francis for 2016 is “Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy.”
“The tragic stories of millions of men and women daily confront the international community as a result of the outbreak of unacceptable humanitarian crises in different parts of the world,” writes Pope Francis.
“Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence and shipwreck,” he continues. “Whether large or small in scale, these are always tragedies, even when a single human life is lost.”
“The Church stands at the side of all who work to defend each person’s right to live with dignity, first and foremost by exercising the right not to emigrate and to contribute to the development of one’s country of origin. This process should include, from the outset, the need to assist the countries which migrants and refugees leave. (Vatican Radio)
The head of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has urged European leaders to set up a « massive » refugee settlement programme. Antonio Guterres was speaking as a new UN report warned that the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide would « far surpass » a record 60 million this year. (Source: BBC News email, December 18, 2015)
In this period of waiting, of e x p e c t a t i o n , the words of Henri Nouwen are very appropriate.
« Those who think that they have arrived, have lost their way.
Those who think they have reached their goal, have missed it.
An important part of the spiritual life is to keep longing, waiting, hoping, expecting.
A good criticism, a frustrating day, an empty stomach, or tired eyes might help to reawaken our expectation and deepen our prayer:
Henri Nouwen, The Genesee Journal, p. 113
Autumn lingers on… Summer is long gone and winter is late coming – late, that is, in bringing the beautiful snow-landscapes we recall and enjoy. The days are short and dark, rain is often there, wet, sometimes slippery and always unpleasant. And, if truth be told, at times our thoughts are also unpleasant. Life is not easy and there’s not much to cheer us up.
Have you ever been tempted to send this note to . . . God?!
You smile! But sometimes, we feel like that, don’t we?
We’d like to drop some commitment, forget about some responsibility, give up some demanding task and abandon whatever seems too heavy a load to carry at the moment.
Recently, I came across a poem with much humour and wisdom. Let me share it with you.
« I’ve taught a class for many years;
Borne many burdens – toiled through tears,
But people don’t notice me a bit;
I’m so discouraged – I’ll just quit.
Sometime ago I joined the choir
That many people I might inspire;
But people don’t seem moved a bit
And I wont stand it. I’ll just quit.
I’ve led young people day and night
And sacrificed to lead them right.
But people wont help me out a bit,
And I’m so tired, I think I’ll quit.
Christ’s cause is hindered everywhere
And people are dying in despair.
The reason why? Just think a bit;
The Church is full of people who quit. »
You look at this picture, you read the text, you go from one layer to the other and you think to yourself: ‘Something is missing! Where is… JOY?’
Bliss can make us feel heavenly… for a while!
Delight provides a feeling of pleasure in something or someone.
Happiness is a more pervasive, deeper, state leading us to think that life is good and the world a good place to be.
Contentment makes us experience some kind of ease, of gratification, about the situation we find ourselves in.
Satisfaction provides a sensation that things are all right, it calls for some kind of suspension of effort for some time.
But what about JOY? It is very much the theme of this Sunday as we hear the words of the prophet Zephaniah (3:14-18) and the apostle Paul (Ph.4:4-7). Both tell us to « REJOICE », and they stress this message. Paul admits: « I repeat. » What they tell us is to « rejoice in the Lord. »
What does it mean? I wonder: ‘What is asked of me?’ Perhaps the answer lies in the reason why we should rejoice and it is mentioned clearly: « The Lord is near. » So, we are expected to rejoice because we have nothing to fear, the Lord is in our midst, and Zephaniah promises us: « He will renew you with his love. » Nothing less – is it not enough to be filled with joy?