Reflection on the Word
December 16th, 2012 (Third Sunday of Advent)
In today’s gospel reading from Luke, John the Baptist proclaims good news to the crowds of people clamouring around him; a message of common sense fairness and justice. As they await baptism, the people ask John for direction on how to live their lives, and John tells the tax collectors to be fair in their collections, the soldiers not to abuse their power, and the others to be charitable to those who have less. Of course, approximately 2,000 years later, greed, selfishness, and abuse of power and position are still with us, but it is helpful to know this is not the end of the story. The good news is that there are signs of hope all around us, particularly in these weeks leading up to Christmas. During this season of Advent, as Christian people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs prepare commemorate the arrival of God in human form, I am inspired everywhere by the light of people doing good things as they struggle to close the gap between privileged and less privileged. Literally, everywhere I go…Christmas gift collection, toy drives, turkey drives, radiothons, telethons, food drives, food baskets, winter clothing drives, fundraisers for soup kitchens, letter-writing campaigns, anonymous acts of kindness, etc. The list is refreshingly long. Every day I see and hear about it, helping me to understand that preparing for the arrival of God’s son can yield miraculous results during a time of both physical and spiritual darkness.
This past Monday (December 10th), the world observed United Nations Human Rights Day, so I decided to check out the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (www.un.org). If you have not read it, this document is grounded in gospel values, and Article 25.1 in particular echoes John’s teachings to those who came to him seeking advice for renewal through baptism:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
As we wait for the coming of Christ in our world, in our communities and in our hearts, we stand united in solidarity with those struggling for basic human rights in both our global and local communities. This season of Advent is an appropriate time to acknowledge that many of us are still waiting for universal human rights, and not just passively waiting, but actively working towards this goal. We wait for light to illuminate the dark places in our lives and in our world. We wait for this with the joy and hope of today’s first and second readings when “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds…” I think that is something worth waiting for.
-Trevor Droesbeck, Office of Youth Faith Development for the Archdiocese of Moncton