Advent 2013

Third Sunday in Advent - December 15th

Is 35: 1-6, 10 / Ps 146: 6-10 / Jas 5: 7-10 / Mt 11: 2-11

For two years in a row, the Peace and Justice Center led a group of volunteers to AID for Friends during our annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service. AID for Friends is an organization that prepares and distributes meals to people who are shut-in and alone. We were told by the Director that for most of their clients the delivery of the week’s meals (6 total) was the highlight of their week, as they had no other support system and no other means of obtaining food for the week. AID for Friends provides food for the body and love for the soul to keep many of society’s most invisible and forgotten members going. As we peeled carrots and potatoes, filled trays with different ingredients, and sealed them for freezing, I tried to imagine the faces of the faceless people who would eat this food.  Their seemingly intractable aloneness and vulnerability broke my heart and I ended up feeling that the work I was doing, however small indeed, was incredibly humbling and sacred. Most of all, I wanted them to know they weren’t forgotten, but loved precisely because of who they were. 

I am reminded of these faceless souls when I read today’s passages and am told that God is one who gives preference to those from whom we may recoil or to whom we turn our backs. The poor, those afflicted with various infirmities, our prisoners, society’s widows and orphans all deserve our recognition and comfort. These are the people who should occasion our love, just as Christ did, for this is the way of the Lord. As we who have so much enjoy the season with an abundance of food, family, and fellowship, it is easy to become absorbed in our own blessings.  If we do, we will fail to honor what has actually been given. We must remember the forgotten and overlooked; we must make space in our hearts and minds for what is most divine.  We must engage in gestures of love which embody and affirm that all life is sacred and ought to be extended to and shared with those who need it most. May we have the strength, courage, and faith to do so.

Carol Anthony
Center for Peace and Justice Education