Left: (L to R) Andrew, Allison, Julian, Lisa, Kate, Fumi, and Sam. Kate is the grand-daughter of Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day. Allison and Sam are visiting Catholic Workers. Right: The two emcee’s of the Japanese American and American Muslim American solidarity march were Zahra Billoo of the Council on American Islamic Relations and our own Lisa Washio-Collette.
Dear friends of Casa de Clara,
Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” —John 20:18
A new day had dawned. After rushing to Jesus’ tomb only to find it mysteriously empty, Mary Magdalene sat outside, weeping, shattered. The man she had loved and followed—who had sparked a healing in her so profound that it altered the course of her life, who had enkindled hope among his followers amidst their desolation and desperation under Roman occupation—this man, her Beloved, had suffered abject humiliation, torture, and finally, execution on a cross. And now even his mutilated corpse had been taken. Nothing left.
And that’s when things got strange in that garden outside the tomb, that first day.
In the stillness of dawn, light and life began to quicken. Angels spoke. And a man appeared. With their words, the angels and the man tried to point Mary beyond her despair to the new world dawning around her. But it wasn’t until the man spoke her name, “Mary!”, that the eyes of her heart were opened, and she too was created anew.
As we enter this Easter season, these resurrection stories offer themselves to our imaginations, inviting us to inhabit a world far more expansive, alive, and hopeful than that disclosed within the limits of our senses or the vacillations of our hearts. We are invited to live as if death were not, as if we and every creature in the universe were beheld in the loving gaze of the Infinite, and the Caesars of this world and their voracious, violent empires were as chaff in the wind. Christ is risen and reigns over the whole earth. Can you hear your name being spoken?
Like many people these days, we at Casa de Clara have been challenged at times to maintain a sense of hope. Vulnerable people near and far—the poor, the sick, the homeless; immigrants and refugees; ethnic and religious minorities—seem under assault, and we are weighed down by wave after wave of discouraging news. Christ is risen, a new world has dawned, so what? What difference does that make to the homeless, mentally ill woman at our door, who screams in terror and despair, demanding to know why she should carry on another day?
This is the inescapable paradox of our faith—Christ is risen, a new day has dawned, yet suffering persists and the Caesars of the world continue their plunder of the earth and its peoples. This is the unresolvable tension in which we live, keeping us ever searching, growing, stretching toward that new creation, that better world whose seeds have
been sown in our hearts.
These past weeks, we have glimpsed signs of Easter hope in the relationships we foster across cultural, religious, and economic lines, in the convictions and actions of peacemakers, and in those who carry forward a vision of a more beautiful, loving, cooperative way of life for all. We’ve been grateful for opportunities to forge new friendships with our Muslim neighbors, including attending an open house at the downtown South Bay Islamic Association, and a “Hands Around the Mosque” event at the Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara. Lisa co-emceed a Japanese American and American Muslim solidarity rally. Fumi attended a Pacific Life Community retreat in
Washington, honoring the prophetic witness of retired Archbishop of Seattle, Raymond Hunthausen. Closer to home, we’ve welcomed new guests to live with us; we hosted Dorothy Day’s granddaughter Kate Hennessy, who spoke at Santa Clara University and shared delightful stories of Dorothy and family and the Catholic Worker movement from her unique, intimate perspective; and we’ve begun a new monthly event, House of Story, where people can gather and share a story, poem, song, joke, or simply enjoy the company and sharing of others. And Showers to the People! continues to attract more and more folks living on our streets, further expanding our circle of relationships and the horizon of our hearts.
Christ is risen! A new society is emerging in the shell of the old, trembling for birth in the longing of our hearts. Can you sense that new world’s Easter dawning?
Love and Peace,
on behalf of the Catholic Worker community