NOTE: We’ll be posting the reflection for the upcoming Sunday of Advent usually on the Tuesday before, in case individuals or groups want to incorporate it into their meetings, homilies, etc. We’ll then be re-posting the reflection on Saturday evening. This is the first reflection of the 2015 Advent season.

by Rev. John Rausch, glmy
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

Jeremiah 33:14-16 | 1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2 | Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

“But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads,
because your redemption is at hand.” (Lk 21:28)

Advent allows a step back from our preoccupation with economic worries and the cares of the world. It raises our eyes to see the new liturgical year as the hopeful dawn of salvation that will ultimately reach completion with our participation. Fear about the “end of the world” gets replaced by excitement about the fullness of God’s Reign. Your “ransom,” “liberation,” and “redemption” are at hand!

Fear sells newspapers and grabs our attention with every news broadcast. Terrorists might attack, hackers may control the Internet, a gallon of gas may double in price! Shrill talking heads on TV and radio constantly inflate every troublesome situation into catastrophic tragedy. The gullible get scared. People of faith, by contrast, click the “off” button.

For faithful disciples the right agenda drives out fear. We know concerns like immigration, poverty, torture, capital punishment, the environment, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and every violence demand our attention. We People of Faith overcome our fear by speaking out, knowing “the Lord our justice” (Jer 33:16) stands by our side.

Fear, however, will grip those who get bloated on self-indulgence. Luke addresses his warning to the rich, i.e., the “greedy,” the over-consumers and super-consumers who “will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world” (Lk 21:26).

The poor seldom have time for trivial activities of self-indulgence. They’re too busy scratching for survival. And therein lies the key: by identifying with the agenda of the poor, our concern turns to love and that drives out fear. We stand with the oppressed, the deprived and those discriminated against.

Advent: a stepping back to stand with the least, and without fear, to securely “stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:36).


What news do I not need to hear?

What is the agenda of the poor in my area, our country, the world?


* For reflections for every day of Advent and the holy days of the Christmas season, you can purchase and download an e-reader version of The Promise of Light: Reflections for Advent 2015 by clicking here.

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