ADVENT REFLECTION 2014
Week 2: Building the Kingdom
We are waiting for the new heavens and new earth, where righteousness will be at home.
2 Peter 3:13
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms.
The gap between rich and poor is widening steadily. Some lead care-free lives of wealth and plenty whilst others are forced to borrow at exorbitant rates just to put food on the table. Christmas time is especially tough for the poorest in our society. Many are forced to borrow from loan sharks to buy toys for their children.
Natural disasters and the ravages of war, sickness and famine leave many destitute, homeless or orphaned.
The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd may seem gentle and idyllic but a shepherd also had to be fearless and constantly watchful to protect his flock from predators. In the face of attack only his courage would save them from danger and destruction. A shepherd’s life is solitary and lonely yet he remains committed to maintaining the well-being of his flock. Going against the crowd for the sake of justice and peace can also be lonely and requires courage and commitment.
Inspired by this week’s readings, may we too be fearless, speaking out against injustice as we seek to build the Kingdom of God, regardless of the cost to ourselves. Our Advent preparation inspires us to work for change to make the new heaven and new earth become a reality for all peoples where everyone is cared for and valued.
Lord, I see injustice all around yet feel powerless to help: the problems seem too big to overcome and my voice feels too small to make a difference.
For the times I have failed to act to help build a fairer society and thought only of myself, I ask your forgiveness.
For the times that my greed and selfishness may have caused the gap between rich and poor to widen, I ask your forgiveness.
For the times I have mistaken superiority and self- righteousness for loving charity, I ask your forgiveness.
Open my eyes, Lord, to see how my actions may adversely affect those around me.
Open my ears, Lord, to hear the cries of the poor and needy.
Open my heart, Lord, to act in love and solidarity with my brothers and sisters throughout the world.
Donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee for the victims of Ebola www.dec.org.uk/Ebola
Choose from the World Gifts catalogue to help fund a community project or provide an animal www.worldgifts.cafod.org.uk
Buy gifts and cards from Toybox to support street children in Latin America www.toyboxcharity.org.uk
Mercy and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced. Psalm 84:10