The anticipation of the Love that comes amongst us…
Priestly life can be fraught with danger. If someone is telling you how it should be, another will be telling us how it should be done, and worse, look at all the trouble we (Christianity, religion) has caused.

Downtown last week, it was made perfectly clear to me by a local trader, what a terrible thing we’ve done in feeding the poor. It’s affected business and trading. People are frightened to come into the precinct, because homeless people are dangerous, dishonest, destructive, self serving, even criminal. Why not round them up and put them in the industrial area? That’d sort them out. And we wouldn’t have to put up with them.

I tried to respond with lines like, where there is prosperity, there will always be poverty and need. And, those who find themselves in poverty and homelessness are often victims of circumstances beyond their control.

To no avail. Then I suggested that maybe a visit to the place, the source of this terrible social, community disruption, to talk with the workers and see how help could be offered received the response…it’s all very well to be altruistic, but your not going to solve the issue by feeding them. And you’re not doing us or them any favours. They’ll just want more.

Feeling good, and going about helping those in need is constantly challenged by those who do little to help and have a prosperity equals self righteousness attitude. Let’s keep the doors locked…we don’t want our property or prosperity damaged by those who seemingly aren’t entitled to the basics of the common good, the social contract that assumes that all of us at some stage may well be the one who is in need. Isn’t that why we pay taxes? Isn’t it why we give Sunday by Sunday, and why we pray that by the presence of the one who came to us and won our redemption changed the way we care for and address the needs of the poor. Changed the way we view the needs of our fellow citizens.
Blessed are those who are poor, persecuted, hungry, homeless, thirsting after righteousness…for theirs is the kingdom of God.

We find ourselves, exhausted, drained, compromised, robbed of our freedoms because of a pandemic that has caused our routines, way of being, rights and connectedness to the wider world compromised and taken from us. We wonder if we will ever know the relative peace we enjoyed in the madness of the world we knew before all this.
Isn’t that true for the ones we reach out to and care for, feed and find shelter for. A shower, a change of clothes, a moment of companionship where a reassurance is offered that their welfare means something.

In life, in faith, for the Christian person, the promise we make is to be out there and to support, uplift the weak, the homeless, the hungry, the widow and the orphan.
Advent pin points some key words, ideas and themes that should help us to understand something of the anticipation of the coming of salvation into a broken and troubled world. These themes give us the tools to not only be prepared or even anticipate, but know that to immerse ourselves in the ideal, the ultraism they invite, ultimately transforms us into the likeness of the one who comes amongst us, an incarnational God in the form of Jesus Christ, Emanuel, God with us.

Hope, peace, joy, love, prepares us to be and to do the will of the one who comes to us in poverty in the form of a vulnerable and fragile child. How we receive him, will in turn speak fully of the way in which we receive the ones most in need. Openly, unconditionally, lovingly, generously. And these four words are not exclusive to the lives of those of us who are prosperous, but the promise of the redemption won for all of us.

The least we can do is the most for those who have little. Be transformed in your anticipation of the coming of the Christ child, and love like Jesus. They are not criminals, but God’s children and our concern.

Bless you in this journey.
Fr. Jeff