To love God with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
A Word of Hope
Today is Cinco de Mayo (in Mexican Spanish, the “Fifth of May”) It is an annual event celebrated on May 5, but usually starting with parties on the weekend before. The date actually commemorates a victory by the Mexican army over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. The forces were led by General Ignacio Zaragoza. The victory of the smaller Mexican force, sometimes using pitch forks and shovels as weapons, against a superior and well-armed French force was a major morale builder for the Mexicans. This information can be expanded by a Google search, but I have never been told any of these details by any of my neighbors who joyfully celebrate the holiday every year. Never.
Theirs is a celebration of the heart, not the history. In my neighborhood, I am surrounded by the colorful sights, delicious smells, and jubilant music that make the whole community robust and engaging. I am always welcomed to participate in their joy and can be assured that there will be treats delivered to my door whether or not I attend the festivities. It is a send-up of family more than anything else and I am always assured that I am part of theirs. Everyone plays a part in the activities, young, old, and in between. It is a picture of mutual respect and unity like no other.
This year I have been invited to sponsor a waterslide in my front yard; one of those huge blow-up monsters, and I can’t wait. It’s also for a child’s birthday party, another hugely important yearly event and the neighbors in the house behind me needed more room. I was glad to volunteer my space. My lawn will get a little extra watering and I’m sure there are a few additional tacos in it for me. I really love my neighborhood.
I have lived predominantly in the same house, my parents’ old family home, since the mid ‘50’s and I have seen a lot of changes throughout the years. At the beginning, all of the neighbors looked like me. They were nice folks, but even as a child, I wished for more diversity. I certainly wasn’t experiencing any ethnic or cultural inclusivity at school. I never even heard about a holiday every 5th of May. I moved away for a few years post college and after my parents’ departure, I decided to take up residence in the old house. The neighborhood had changed, and certainly for the better. My street looks like the U. N. especially on holidays, and on Cinco de Mayo everyone from every ethnic group is welcomed.
My neighborhood is the picture of what I wish every church should be and I thank God for the efforts our own church continually demonstrates in truly practicing what we preach; declaring all are welcome and meaning it. It is the work of Jesus.
Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Dios te bendiga a ti y a tu familia
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare