Weekly Reflections

Weekly Reflections on Justice are written by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach staff, volunteers, interns, and visiting Columban Missionaries. We hope these reflections help to guide you on your own spiritual journey working toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.

  • A Year of Mercy

    Love your neighbor

    On November 20, 2016, Pope Francis concluded a Year of Mercy by symbolically closing the Holy Door to St. Peter’s Basilica. The past year has allowed us to reflect intimately on our faithfulness to Jesus and his endless mercy, reconciliation, and pardon. When he ended the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis never said our job to limitlessly extend mercy and compassion is complete, or that we can assume the role of bystanders to injustice. Nor did he say that we could return to...

  • Learning Advocacy

    When I told my mother I was applying to intern at the Columban Center, she said “you’re doing what?" As someone who considers herself a fairly nonreligious person, a faith-based organization seemed like a strange place for me to end up. I didn’t know anything about Catholic Social Teaching, and while faith has always been a motivator for my advocacy, I rarely connected that faith to organized religious practices.Three months later, I still wouldn’t call myself religious, but my worldview has certainly...

  • Advent Invitation: Believe in the Promise of God

    This is the day, 485 years ago, that the world of the Americas was turned upside down by the faith of a 57 year old peasant named Juan Diego and the revolutionary gentleness of a woman called Our Lady of Guadalupe. Juan Diego was one of the uncounted, voiceless, marginalized, and seemingly unimportant indigenous peoples of Mexico. The country was being overrun by Catholic, Spanish conquerors who were misusing their perceived power by committing genocide against the native people...

  • Blossoms in Winter

    Blossoms in winter

    Just a few weekends ago, I woke up on Saturday morning to the sun blazing in through my window. I got up and went to my usual track practice. The day was clear and bright with no wind or clouds in the sky. It was the middle of November, but a comfortable 70 degrees outside. I was glad to run in nice weather, but perplexed and anxious for fall, let alone winter, to start. I am used to crisp air and blustering winds when running at this time of year, but for some reason that season had yet to come...

  • Adapting to Change

    The fight is not over,

    The hardest part of being an intern during election season was how quickly everything changed. I could read all about an issue one week, only to come in the next week and find that candidates had made new promises that could change everything. In an election where immigration was such a vital topic, it could be hard to keep up with everything going on. I spent a lot of time reading news articles over the past two months. What has been said about immigration? What could the implications...

  • Advent Invitation: Hear His Call for Justice

    In the first reading for the Second Sunday of Advent, Isaiah tells the people yearning for peace: “…A shoot shall sprout from the root of Jesse.” And the responsorial psalm sings the promise: “Justice shall flourish in his time, and the fullness of peace forever.” The Gospel presents John the Baptist, preaching in the desert, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” For the One who comes after me “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing...

  • On the Edge

    I am a member of the United Methodist Student Association at American University. Recently, we celebrated All Saints Day. In the United Methodist Church we recognize everyone as a saint and commemorate all those who have gone before us by offering up a litany of prayers and lighting candles as a bell tolls. Typically, the pastor will pray for those of the community who have recently passed away or for relatives and friends of community members who have recently passed away or for relatives and friends...

  • Inspired to Advocacy

    I first became aware of the challenges facing migrants, especially unaccompanied minors, in my high school Spanish classes when I watched Rebecca Cammisa’s documentary Which Way Home. Which Way Home follows eight Central American children, mostly from the Northern Triangle, as they try to travel north through Mexico to reach the United States. The children travel on la Bestia, the freight trains than run throughout Mexico, before attempting to find smugglers to bring them into...

  • Advent Invitation: Open Our Hearts to Welcome Christ in a Broken World

    Christ of the Breadlines.Graphic by Fritz Eichenberg

    Christ of the Breadlines.

    Advent is a time of waiting and surrender, a time of joy and hope. We live in an “in-between” time, between the birth of Christ and the day when Christ will return. This requires of us a discipline of faith, hope and love. Each week of Advent, we are reminded and invited to pause and to open our hearts to the birth of Christ in a broken world: “Stay awake!” “Prepare the way of the Lord!” “Go and tell what you hear and see!” “Do not be afraid!” Certainly the events surrounding the birth of Jesus...

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