National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with the Indigenous People

Homily from Fr. Teo Ugaban:

In this feast of St. Lucy, a martyr we are encouraged to examine the word “solidarity”. This month, we are also praying for communities of Native and Indigenous peoples. In these occasions, perhaps we can also take the time to ponder “solidarity” as part of our vocation, as part of Christian participation.

We hear too often the word solidarity, but have we spent the time in prayer and reflection on how we participate in the works and lives of others. Of course, I make the assumption that prayer and action must always work together.

To be in solidarity goes beyond the language of awareness, to be aware of something can set us up as visual spectators; we may hear and see the troubles that besiege a particular person or community, but do we dare take the next step > the one that leads us into action.

Christian participation is not about being a spectator, rather the events and situations that affect others must have an impact on how we relate to the marginalized, to victims of violence and to persons and communities that have been historically subjected to injustice and prejudice.

The readings for today, especially the Gospel, encourages us to become more attentive to the world around us, we are invited, especially in this Advent season, to witness how God, time and again breaks into the world.

To be in solidarity can also mean that in our awareness and attentiveness, we find the time to discern our place in a particular situation; discernment is not just about making a sound decision, rather it is about making a responsible series of choices that leads a person to grow in their relationship with others; discernment ultimately flows out from our “being” so that we can contribute to the flourishing of other persons and communities.

If we are to be in solidarity with others > prayer is important this is non-negotiable; we need to be attentive > we open ourselves to the act of listening; finally, to be in solidarity means that we exercise our sense of humility – knowing how we can make ourselves available to serving others and knowing the limits of our own generosity. Solidarity is not a performance, rather it is a response that comes from our experience of freedom.

Solidarity ultimately calls of us to respond out of a deeper sense of freedom, a freedom that is modeled upon the life of Jesus Christ. Amen.



Teo Ugaban, SJ

Anishinabe Spirituality Centre

Espanola, Ontario


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