Engaging Faith | Mon, Dec 7, 2015
Third Sunday of Advent (c)
December 13, 2015
December 6-14: Hanukkah (Judaism)
December 8: Start of the Jubilee Year of Mercy
December 10: Human Rights Day
December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 15: Bill of Rights Day (US)
December 16-24: Las Posadas celebrated in Mexico and other places
December 18: International Migrants Day http://www.un.org/en/events/migrantsday/
The Jubilee Year of Mercy reminds us that God is waiting for us with open arms, just like the father of the prodigal son.
-Pope Francis, @Pontifex, Nov. 29, 2015
The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts.
-Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 1
Being a Christian has never been easy, nor is it easy today. Following Christ demands the courage of radical choices, which often means going against the stream. "We are Christ!” St Augustine exclaimed.
-John Paul II, Jubilee of the Apostolate of the Laity, 26 November, 2000
The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner, and that we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone.
-Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 32
We are at the limit! We are on the verge of suicide, to use a strong word. I am sure that almost all of those in Paris, at the COP21, are conscious of this and want to do something about it. The other day I read that in Greenland the glaciers have lost millions of tons. In the Pacific, one country is buying land from another country in order to move there, because within twenty years their own country will no longer be around… But I am confident. I trust these people, that they will accomplish something; because I am sure that they have the good will to do so, and I hope that it will happen. I am praying for this.
-Pope Francis, In-Flight Press Conference from the CAR to Rome, 30 November 2015
Hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out, that we can always redirect our steps, that we can always do something to solve our problems.
-Pope Francis, Laudato Sí, 61
Thoughts for Your Consideration
The first two readings are full of joy and hope.
Then, in the gospel, John the Baptist seems to be placing very demanding expectations before the people of his day. He invites different people to make changes in their lives. He gets very explicit. He challenges people.
We might hear all this with a certain dread as we think about making radical changes in our lives and in our world. We might dread giving up things or doing things in a new way. We might feel resistance to change. We might dread taking stands that some of our friends and neighbors will not accept. How can we hope to change the constant wars and acts of terrorism or mass shootings? How can we change human behaviors which are changing the climate and ecology of our planet? How can we possibly make sure that human rights are respected for all people?