On Friday CBC Vancouver held its 33rd annual Open House and Food Bank Day. (At the time of writing over $333,000 had been raised.) Listening to Early Edition, as I usually do, I was struck by two things: the joy and celebration presenters and performers, auction donors and audience had in the act of giving (one man came into the studio with a gift of $1,000 in thanksgiving for welcome and assistance he had received when he arrived in Canada over 25 years ago); then the scandal that in one of the wealthiest cities and regions in the world, 100 Food Banks across the Province are necessary to support families and individuals in need.
Friday was also the Feast of St Nicholas of Myra, a fourth-century bishop renowned for his acts of charity and generosity, alongside his support and protection of the needy and vulnerable. He is commonly understood to be the inspiration for the legendary Santa Claus. (Visit stnicholascenter.org to learn more about St Nicholas and the influence of his story.)
As we look for the Advent, the coming amongst us, of Jesus in the here and now, St Nicholas reminds us that we shall find him particularly in the poor and those in need. I’m glad that earlier this year Mother Lucy and her Formation group gave an evening to assist at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, and encouraged us all to contribute to a food collection in the summer. I hope we may do so again.
Let us pray for grace, like St Nicholas, to speak out for justice, and to rejoice in being generous: ‘remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”’ (Acts 20.35)