Amid the destruction and death in the Ukraine, it’s hard to imagine anything remotely revealing the presence of God.
But if you look with the eye of the heart and listen with the ear of the spirit, you’ll see and hear God at work even in the horror taking place in Ukraine.
Some signs of that God’s presence:
Vladyslav operates a bakery in Kyiv. He employs adults with psychological disabilities. His shop specializes in cakes and pastries, as well as serving lunch. On the day before Russian troops stormed their country, Vladyslav gathered his staff together. They would stop selling baked goods to individual customers; instead, they would bake bread for all. They produce 300 loaves a day, bread that they give away to homes for the disabled and volunteer organizations. “I am not militant in my nature,” Vladyslav says simply, “but I can bake bread.” The love of God is in every loaf that Vladyslav bakes.
In Krakow, Poland — just across the Ukrainian border – a community of 40 Dominican sisters have opened their convent to refugees: children, women, the elderly — even their dogs. Things are getting a little cramped, but the sisters tell the refugees they are welcome to stay as long as they need to. In Poland and Ukraine, more than 1,000 religious communities of women are providing housing, food, clothing, and emotional support to thousands of Ukrainians who have been displaced by the war. These sisters, like so many of their Polish neighbours, reveal in their kindness and compassion the Gospel Jesus.
This is Hanna’s first year as a teacher. The 23-year-old never imagined teaching her class of ten year olds in the middle of a war — but, despite the bombings and airstrikes, millions of children in Ukraine are still going to school. Hanna is one of hundreds of dedicated and creative teachers who are managing to keep their students engaged in learning. Some students can’t attend every day because they’re constantly on the move from shelter to shelter. Many of Hanna’s students are signing in on their parents’ phones. Hanna says that the routine of school and seeing their friends online is helping. “Even if I’m not teaching the full curriculum,” Hanna says, “it’s good that they’re talking to me [and] to each other . . . [it] remind[s] us of something normal.” The sacrifice and courage of many good people trying to make things “normal” for their fellow Ukrainians — “normal” is the Spirit of God alive in their care of one another.
On this Trinity Sunday, we celebrate the God who reveals himself not only in the wonders of nature and the miracles of science, but in every experience of love and expression of compassion. God’s Spirit opens our eyes to see all women and men as daughters and sons of God the Father of all; the Spirit opens our hearts to embrace one another as sisters and brothers in God’s Christ. May our own hearts and minds be opened to the Spirit of God revealing such love and hope in our own lives, however small and ordinary and unassuming; may the Spirit instil in us the wisdom to realize the goodness in all things that can enable us to transform our lives and world in God’s life and love.