Dec 5 2012

Advent reflection: ‘For it is in giving that we receive’

Father Mark LaneEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Father Mark Lane, CFCA preacher.

“Ö I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Ö” (Phil 1:6)

Sometimes it is the simplest and most obvious detail that is the most revealing.

When God comes into this world it is among the ordinary people of a not so remarkable period in history and in a corner of the world far from the center of prominence.

Luke, in the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Advent,, tries to give Jesus’advent an historical grandeur that the raw facts do not exactly bare out.

John the Baptist is indeed an exotic character, but his ministry is mainly in the desert, far from the center of things in Jerusalem.

Though both John and Jesus were soon to rattle the status quo in fundamental and far-reaching ways, the modest beginnings are significant for our own journeys.

Jesus is born a vulnerable babe in a manger. He grows up in relative obscurity. He preaches to the fringe-dwellers, and keeps company with sinners and the poor. He dies virtually abandoned, naked and nailed to a cross.

In so many ways his life would appear a failure in the footnotes of a larger history.

But of course that is exactly the point, as Mary’s Magnificat also so beautifully expresses: “He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises up the lowly, he turns the rich empty away. Ö”

And here, in the Gospel that announces John crying out in the desert with the words of Isaiah, the valleys are filled in and the mountains leveled not by the force and resources of affluence and influence but by a certain poverty and in relative obscurity.

CFCA mission awareness trips

Darryl, CFCA sponsor, and his sponsored child’s mother embrace on a CFCA mission awareness trip in El Salvador.

The mission of CFCA among and with those living in poverty is built on this clear witness of Jesus.

The point of sponsorship is not a handout, but rather, a partnership of mutual benefit.

Indeed it is the seemingly powerless and dispossessed who possess some of the greatest resources and teach the most profound truths.

While on some level John the Baptist’s call to repentance is indeed a conversion through confession, it is, by his own dramatic life-witness, a radical denial ó a voluntary poverty.

St Francis of Assisi says it best: “For it is in giving that we receive.”

The fact is if I am full of my own needs, desires, hopes, fears, anxieties, hurts I have no room in me.

God can come into the world only where there is space; charity and compassion are the proven instruments by which we create that space to receive unforeseen blessings.
Related links:
Awakening our hearts to love [1st Advent reflection]
‘For it is in giving that we receive’ [2nd Advent reflection]
‘God dwells within the human family’ [3rd Advent reflection]

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