By Diane Lopez Hughes

Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7 | 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 | Mark 13:33-37

Why do you let us wander, O God, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? . . . Too long have we been like those you do not rule, who do not bear your name. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you. . . .Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! (Isaiah 63:17a, 19, 64:4) 

How do you recognize a child of God? Others may not know us for who we are and whose we are, but God does. Does this mean God has special responsibility for us? In the first reading God is accused of not keeping us on the straight and narrow. Why isn’t God taking control, appearing before us in righteous anger, accompanied by quaking mountains for extra measure? Why does God allow us to wander away?

Thankfully we are blessed with a loving Creator who gives us the freedom to meet God doing right. We make choices. Some choices lead us to mistakes: some we learn from, others we don’t. At other times, our choices are life-giving. And we are the owners of these choices, however they turn out.

Often the work of peace and justice, trying to make life-giving choices, feels like a 24/7 occupation. Is there time in the day to rest from all of the good work there is to do? From today’s final reading, we can imagine that Jesus also welcomes us to go off with him, away from the crowd. If we choose to heed his
call, we too can be open to his word, to the deeper meaning of resurrection, and to life. Taking the time, making the time: then we will have the resources we need from God to make the best choices—our choices and no one else’s—to empower our work, God’s work, of peace and justice in the world.

Reflection: Can you take responsibility for the freedom God gives you? Will you make a space within each day of Advent, or even just on the weekends, to go off with Jesus, listening in the silence for the Word?

This reflection is from That You Might Meet Us Doing Right: Reflections for Advent 2011, by Diane Lopez Hughes. This booklet is still available and can be ordered online here. Diane Lopez Hughes is a former Pax Christi USA National Council Member and former coordinator of the Global Restoration Committee.

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