Welcome to the third Sunday of Advent. During this third week, I invite you to join me in reading chapters 13-19 (pages 156-260) of Ordinary Resurrections by Jonathan Kozol.
The innocence of the children of the afterschool at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in the South Bronx is confronted by many challenges. Primary among them is the issue of safety. The kids need to be careful. They learn to avoid certain neighborhoods, especially at certain parts of the day. They know that innocence cannot stop bullets, nor eradicate disease. It can’t put books and well-paid teachers into under-funded schools.
But, Jonathan Kozol writes, “Innocence has power. It undercuts obsessive fears. It tames anxiety. It brings things down to manageable size. It also helps to separate the little fears from big ones” (pages 169-170).
“Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”, Jesus tells his disciples (Matthew 10:16). In this time of harsh reality, which can lead the soul to cynicism, it is important to put on the armor of innocence. Innocence can more readily open us up to hope – and to the vision of God’s justice and freedom.