Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We Cannot Wait

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

By Beth DeCristofaro

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved … (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.   For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.   She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” … When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.  (Matthew 1: 20-21, 24)

O God, may I ever rejoice that the shoot of faith grows in me.  May I grow my faith ever deeper by nurturing those in need you send my way.  May I respond in joy to the cries of those most in want, captivity, pain and grief.

My husband’s great-grandmother opened St. Roch’s Church on Staten Island, each morning before the priest, readying the sanctuary for Mass.  My dear friend baked and decorated Christmas cookies with my daughters for many years because I am chef-challenged.  In Christian churches around the world, parishioners are preparing for the Christmas liturgies by rehearsing hymns, performing run-throughs of the rituals, adorning Nativities with greens and lights.  Parents show children how to toss coins into Salvation Army kettles and volunteers buy gifts and food for the poor.  These worldly, routine holiday actions are as St. Theresa of Avila recognized “Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Madeleine L ’Engle’s  poem “First Coming” describes how God’s hands, eyes and feet expressed love in Jesus.  We can read it for clues as to how we can extend God’s hands and eyes and feet today, nurturing the sacred shoot.

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.  …

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

The world remains unsteady, the need is great and deep.  What can we do to address fear, hatred and ignorance?   We have so many avenues such as to speak up when racial slurs or jokes are told; attend an interfaith event; advocate for everyone to have access to health insurance; speak out about gun violence.  “He dined with sinners in all their grime” Let us do what is just and right in the land not what is comfortable or “acceptable.” Let us not wait for the perfect time.

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