Intention: That in this season of hospitality and generosity, all of us will make a special place for those whose lives are wounded by need, misfortune or injustice.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 21:28-32
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”
A Reflection for the Third Tuesday of Advent
The earthly life of our Lord began with and was spent with the poor. These days, there is much conversation in ministry circles about the meaning of the word “poor”. What does it truly mean to be poor? Who are the “real poor”? It may help to consider the view that the essence of poverty is the absence of opportunity. You are powerless to make a difference in your own existence or in that of those you love. To be poor is to have no choice other than to be poor. And so, to be offered a possible path out of poverty can be a moment of life-changing empowerment. As instruments of God’s love and builders of his Kingdom, it is up to us to stand with the poor – calling attention to their plight, advocating for their cause, working for change on their behalf. In other words, we must create for them new possibilities. It is not enough that we offer charity. As Pope Francis has said, “A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.” No life is whole if one must live it without freedom and dignity. The time of Advent is a time to begin to work toward a world where, as Jesus insisted, all may have life and have it to the full.
Eternal Father, we always are in your presence, but sometimes we make ourselves too much the center of everything and so do not recognize you. As we remember how your Son first came to us in simplicity and ordinariness, let us see you in every person that we meet. Let us hear you in both the laughter and the cries that reach our ears. May others know you through how we live our own lives, and may all of us learn the lessons that you have placed in our struggles and our successes. We ask this of you who lives with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.