Engaging Faith | Tue, Nov 29, 2016
Second Sunday of Advent [a]
December 4, 2016
December 3: International Day of Disabled Persons (http://bit.ly/2gHLNJD)
December 6: St. Nicolas Day
December 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
December 9: International Anti-Corruption Day
December 10: Human Rights Day (anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948)
The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.
The more insurmountable the difficulties and obscure the prospects, the more insistent must our prayer be, to beg of God the gift of mutual understanding, harmony and peace.
— John Paul II, Angelus Message, 18 November 2001
Christian love of neighbor and justice cannot be separated. For love implies an absolute demand for justice, namely recognition of the dignity and rights of one's neighbor.
— 1971 Bishops Synod, Justice in the World
Traditionally Advent is a time of waiting. In a flurry focused on family and friends, we wait for Christmas to unwrap our gifts and wrap our lives with meaning. In our churches and in our spiritual lives, we wait for Christ to come again to fulfill the hopes that remain unfulfilled from that initial coming. Spiritually, we are waiting. Well, it seems to me, as I look around, that we have waited long enough. … It is our responsibility to attend to all that was left undone by the One who was sent to prepare a way of justice and compassion. We, as disciples of Jesus, are not only his followers. We are leaders charged with a mission, believers filled with his spirit, messengers sent, as he was sent, to do the will of God.
— Mirian Therese Winter
The Church is missionary. Christ sends us forth to bring the joy of the Gospel to the whole world.
— Pope Francis, 26 November 2013
The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.
— Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 2
Thoughts for Your Consideration
For many people the last month has been a time of distress and upset. Many have been upset about the results of the recent election in the United States and the very hurtful things that have been said – things that have caused fear and anger among women, refugees, immigrants, the poor, Muslims, minority groups, and many others. It has been a challenging time for many.
Advent is a season to open our eyes and see, to notice those who struggle or suffer, to see the injustice around us, to be more aware of the challenges in our world, to open to change and growth and new ways to get into action.
In today’s advent scriptures, we hear messages of both hope and challenge. John the Baptist talks of a repentance that will produce fruit – that will burn up the chaff and result in something new and life-giving. Isaiah talks of a new spirit that will bring wisdom, understanding, and justice. He talks of a healing of relationships between people and nations. Paul talks of harmony and an inclusive community.
Our Christian hope is not a “superficial” hope – “don’t worry, all will be well.” Our hope is not only about individual feelings – “your personal problems will come to an end.” Rather our hope involves a radical transformation of the whole community and the way we live with each other. Our hope is based in an invitation from God to enter into a new life and not be stuck in what fails to give life.
Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium speaks of a joy that spreads as we share the fruit of Jesus Christ. He reminds us that ‘‘Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society.’’ He writes: ‘’God constantly renews his faithful ones, whatever their age.’” We must not forget this.
The hope that we have involves responding to the challenges and working for a new world of justice and peace. In our response, we will be changed as a community. It may not always be easy, but it is wonderful and it is good news. Great things can happen even when we face problems and opposition and maybe especially when we face problems and opposition.
To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice: http://bit.ly/1Ezao3d.
Copyright © 2016, Center of Concern.