Several years ago, north of Squamish, I saw a young Chinese woman with her five-year-old daughter hitch-hiking a ride to Whistler. I took them in my car and offered to take them back home and at the end of the day, because it was very dangerous for a young woman to hitch a ride in this country. She didn’t know about that because she had just arrived here from Mainland China. After knowing that I was a priest, she kept asking me questions about my Catholic faith. She told me I was so lucky to believe in God. It was her first encounter with a Catholic. We arranged for another meeting to speak more about it.
Last Tuesday, January 3rd, we had a young woman, Tricia Bõlle from L.A., who shared her experience in evangelizing in Beijing, China. She met tremendous thirst for the faith there. And God multiplied the opportunities for her. A Jesuit told her that she did more in a few trips than a host of Jesuits for decades.
I am sharing this because it’s all about Epiphany. The magi went out of their country, far away, following the star that would lead them to God. They had a driving thirst for the true God, even though they didn’t know Him. This is happening again today right under our nose!
How can it be? It’s because our God Jesus, true God, true man, is the one who created us in His own image. He is, in this divine nature, the Word, who created everything in his own image. That’s why, we have been marked, formed in his own image, even when not knowing it, we thirst for Him, our origin! The Beijing people who met Tricia Bõlle were first attracted to her because she really looked like a blond American woman and they were seeking an occasion to practice their English, being students at the University of Beijing. But then, she would tell them why she went to China, and they became fascinated with the God of the Christians, more specifically the God of the Catholic Christians.
And then something else happened. These Chinese discovered that they also belonged to a much greater community than China… that they had something in common with Tricia that was more important than all the narrower national belongings; that their true home was greater than China. That the common ground – God – enabled them to connect with any person from the entire world, even Americans… That in the international community of the Church, anyone could find a share in the Divine Life offered by Christ, and through him, a communion with all human beings, and even with the entire Universe, created in the likeness of him. And that is why we all thirst for the true God, no matter what is our country of origin.
And this is happening here at St. Mary’s, a community of maybe 80 different nationalities, all united in the same faith, in the sharing of the One God. I know now that what defines me at the deepest level is not belonging to Canada, not even my roots in the french Quebec, but my belonging to Christ. In His Body, there is no longer Greek or Jews, slave or free citizens. We all belong!
God bless you, Fr. Pierre