The holidays are a time for travel and celebration. Perhaps that means Christmas dinner at grandma’s house or a party with old friends on New Year’s Eve. These trips involve preparation and anticipation. We may need to prepare and pack a few things– maybe a gift and a bottle of wine. We also anticipate the joy and warmth we’ll experience at these celebrations.
As we begin 2021, Pope Francis asks us to prepare our hearts for the days ahead. In the month of January, we pray for human fraternity. “May the Lord give us the grace to live in full fellowship with our brothers and sisters of other religions, praying for one another, open to all.”
Jesus meets with people from many backgrounds in the Gospels: the Syro-Phoenecian woman, Samaritans, and Roman soldiers. Jesus is drawn to others, and they are uniquely drawn to him. Like Christ, we are called to open our hearts to others in the world around us. We can look for ways to embrace them, pray for them, and work together—in particular, with those of other faiths.
In him, we can stand with those of other religions; with them, we can even love and serve those who are suffering from the cold, from poverty, or the effects of the pandemic. Together, let us prepare for, anticipate, and participate in this New Year with faith, hope, and love.
P. Joseph Laramie, SJ
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United States & Canada)