Sr. Phyllis Jaszkowiak
Third Sunday of Advent
December 17, 2017
“My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.” This quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Theologian and Psychologist, written a few years ago seems to fit our times today.
And we have hope; hope in the Light to which John the Baptist points, whom he heralds. According to our faith, our Scriptures, and Jesus, we have a vision of peace, compassion, sharing, hospitality, solidarity, caring for each other and for the earth. Isaiah says it in today’s reading and John the Baptist says someone is coming who will live this vision. Proverbs says, “Without the vision, the people perish”. (Proverb 29:18)
Naomi Klein in her book, No Is Not Enough, says it this way; “Our goal is to move from a society based on endless taking and depletion to one based on caretaking and renewal. Then all of our relationships have to be grounded in those same principles of reciprocity and care, because our relationships with one another are our most valuable resource of all. And that’s the antithesis of bullying one another into submission’. (Naomi Klein)
We can choose to follow or to ignore this vision. John the Baptist exhorts us to follow The One who is coming after him, the One who brings the Light to our world and will live this vision through His teachings and actions. If we follow this vision, then, “We, [are the ones] to bring Good News to the poor. We are the ones to usher in THIS year as a year of favor from God through all that we do to bring glad tidings and healing to those in need of joy and wholeness. (Sunday by Sunday)
Mary, in the Magnificat says, “God has shown strength and scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, put down the powerful from their thrones, lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty”.
Our Catholic Social Justice teaching is based on this vision of bringing glad tidings and healing to those in need of joy and wholeness, of lifting up the lowly, and filling the hungry with good things. There are many examples of people bringing glad tidings to others. St. Charles is doing that through its work with the Mobile Home residents, through MACG, through St. Vincent DePaul, and the countless ways each of us helps another.
I just heard the St. Mary Academy Marian Singers, a group of high school young women who brought joy to the group through song. There is a house that just opened for women who need a few years to get their life together so they can move on to become productive people of our society. The first resident is a woman from Iran who was in a refugee camp for 4 years. These are all ways of bringing glad tidings to the lowly.
We, by our faith, are committed to make this vision real in our day by working for justice and by coming to know Christ more deeply through prayer and contemplation,. “To do God’s work, we must be open to being guided and nourished by the Spirit of God.” (C. Vanessa White)
It is a never ending task, one that has to be redone in each generation, and especially in times of great transitions. We are in such a transition in our world today. The earth is changing, through climate change, faster than anticipated. More people are refugees because of wars, rising of oceans and famines. Countries are being asked to help those fleeing disasters of one kind or another. Our country, unfortunately, has limited the number of refugees. So what happens to all the refugees? They are stuck in refugee camps. Not a good place to live.
Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken out that we who believe in Christ follow Christ’s vision of no hungry people, no homeless people, no refugees, and all people, of every color, nationality, religion, are equal with everyone else.
We are called, by God and by John the Baptist, today, to make God’s vision real, so that all may dwell in peace. Sr. Joan Chittister says it this way, “With trust in the Spirit who inspires change in the world, [let us] become part of [that] sacred change and [become] co-creators of an even better future.” (Sr. Joan Chittister)
Now, let us go to work and bring compassion, solidarity, justice and peace to the earth so that all may come and eat of the great feast God has prepared for all people where everyone is included.