Third Week of Advent, Dec. 13-19
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Greetings of peace!

As we are reaching the halfway point of Advent, I hope that you are finding sources of hope and light in the world around you. Included below is the Pray, Study, Act (PSA) e-bulletin for the third week of Advent. (You can find a link to the PSA for this week and other Advent resources on our site by clicking here.) In a time when the world is experiencing emotional, spiritual, and physical fatigue, there are plenty of reasons to remain active. 

The third week of Advent calls us to focus on joy. With disparities continuing to expand and injustice plaguing our communities in new ways daily, joy can be hard to feel. For myself, and hopefully many of you, I feel authentic joy when engaging with the Pax Christi USA community. I hope you are able to participate in one of the actions below or join in prayer to continue building this beloved community. 

And keep an eye out tomorrow for an additional PSA this week from our Deputy Director Dianna Ortiz, OSU in observance of International Human Rights Day which falls on Thursday of this week!
In Advent peace,

Lauren Bailey
Pax Christi USA National Field Organizer
A reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent, Dec. 13
by Ched Myers
The following reflection by Ched Myers, ecumenical activist theologian and writer, originally appeared in our 1999 Advent-Christmas reflection booklet.

God has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from God. (Is 61:1-2)

The reading from the Hebrew Bible today is the famous prophetic commission that heralds “good news to the oppressed” and proclaims “the year of God’s favor”. Of all the possibilities in his scriptures, it is this text that Jesus of Nazareth chose to define and inaugurate his mission, according to Luke’s Gospel (Lk. 4:18-19). While its meaning has often been spiritualized by our churches, Isaiah (and Jesus) clearly understood the “acceptable year” in terms of the ancient vision of Jubilee (Leviticus 25).

The Jubilee was a communal discipline designed to teach the people about their dependence upon the land and upon the “divine economy of grace”. Because the Earth belongs to God and its fruits are “free”, the people should justly distribute those fruits instead of seeking to own and hoard them. The “sabbath’s sabbath” (7 x 7 years) was intended as Israel’s hedge against the inevitable tendency of human societies to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the few. In agrarian societies such as biblical Israel (or some parts of the world today), the cycle of poverty began when a family had to sell off its land in order to service a debt, and it reached its conclusion when landless peasants could only sell their labor, becoming bond-slaves. The Jubilee aimed to dismantle such inequality...

>> Also see this, "A coronavirus prayer for this weary winter," by Kerry Weber...
Francis's 'Fratelli Tutti' weaves the
threads of nonviolence & just peace
by Eli McCarthy in National Catholic Reporter
The recent encyclical by Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, offers a critical step toward the illumination of nonviolence and a just peace moral framework.

Reflecting on conflict and fear, Francis clearly names war itself, not merely terrorist attacks, as an "affront to human dignity," which is the central, orienting theme of Catholic social teaching. This opens a door for Catholics to more clearly recognize that nonviolence is a positive reverence for human dignity and life, as well as what acting consistently with human dignity looks like in practice.

Turning our attention to dialogue and friendship as critical nonviolent ways of being, he highlights the importance of creating "processes of encounter … that build a people that can accept differences," rather than "the violence of those who despise differences." These processes of encounters manifest the first category of a just peace moral framework, namely, developing the virtues and skills to engage conflict constructively.

In contrast, "every act of violence committed against a human being is a wound; every violent death diminishes us as people. … Violence leads to more violence. … We must break this cycle which seems inescapable" (227). This recognition of how every act of violence cultivates a cycle of harm and violence illuminates the second category of a just peace moral framework, namely, breaking cycles of destructive conflict and violence...

And check out “Why we need Advent now more than ever” – a podcast episode of Jesuitical by America Magazine, hosted by Ashley McKinless and Zac Davis, with featured guest Tsh Oxenreider. The conversation begins at 3:19; total episode length is 51 minutes.
Gather with Pax Christi USA members from around the country (& world!) at one of these events next week!
FROM PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK: On Saturday, December 12th at 10:30am ET, Pax Christi Metro New York is hosting “Moving Beyond Victimization and Privilege: The Anti-Racism Challenge” with Pax Christi USA Ambassadors of Peace Tom Cordaro and Cathy Crayton. More information and how to register can be found by clicking here

FROM PAX CHRISTI USA: Join Pax Christi USA for a short 30 minute Advent prayer service on Monday, December 14th (and again on the 21st) at 8:30pm ET. We will be joined by the authors of the Advent booklet to reflect and share in community with one another. Click here for more information and to register.
FROM PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL: Pax Christi International's Catholic Nonviolence Initiative is sponsoring a virtual Christmas retreat on Gospel nonviolence on Friday, December 18th at 10am ET (and repeated again at 7pm ET). Join Pax Christi International friends and partners from around the world for prayer and reflection featuring an exclusive screening of “The Third Harmony,” a new film on the power of nonviolence, and brief presentations by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, Dr. Bernice A. King, and Rev. Emmanuel Katongole, as well as Mons. Bruno Marie Duffé, Dr. Alessio Pecorario and Fr. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam from the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Click here for information and to register.
FROM PAX CHRISTI LITTLE ROCK: On Saturday, December 19th at 10:30am EST, Pax Christi Little Rock is hosting “Comm(unity): Relational healing for a divided world,” featuring Pax Christi USA Bishop-President Bishop John Stowe. Bishop Stowe will be speaking on the urgent need for interpersonal and internal unity. To attend via Zoom, join the call at (meeting ID is 822 2922 0968).
Please click here to give to Pax Christi USA's Advent-Christmas appeal if you have the means. You can read the special message from our Deputy Director Dianna Ortiz, OSU by clicking on the image to the right and to give securely and quickly online.

We thank you so much for your generosity during this difficult time and wish you Advent blessings of peace!