Intention: That all people will embrace the story of the birth of the Christ Child as a call to increase our attention to the needs of children throughout the world.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 17: 9a, 10-13
As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
A Reflection for the Second Saturday of Advent
One of the unhappy effects of our society’s growing tendency to define freedom primarily in terms of the individual is that it distorts our understanding of human fulfillment. We order our lives around a worldview that considers community to be at best a socio-economic strategy, and at worst a conspiratorial imposition. At a time of obsessive fear over what “they” are doing, perhaps the real problem is that human relationships have deteriorated to the point where we know others only as “they”. We make strangers of those around us, and then mistrust them for being strangers. In doing so, we sentence ourselves to isolation and self-delusion that we confuse for independence. Marilynne Robinson wrote, “To value one another is our greatest safety, and to indulge in fear and contempt is our gravest error.” The fullness of who we are comes through the acceptance, the healing, and the dignity that we give to and receive from one another. The time of Advent is a time to realize that our freedom can be found and experienced only in our need for each other and our will to live together as one.
Eternal Father, as we prepare during this Advent to celebrate the gift of our Lord, we remember that he taught us to live lives of faith, mercy, and justice, with peace in our hearts and with goodwill to all. You call us to walk in the ways of humility, trust, and compassion. For us, redemption is a grace that we come to together, and that we receive as one people in you. Open our minds and hearts to this truth. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.