[BREAKING THE BREAD OF GOD’S WORD]
3rd Sunday of Advent Year C
December 13, 2015
DISTANCE & APATHY, VERSUS NEARNESS & ACTIVITY
Our times seem to lead us to being apathetic and uncaring. The world has seen too much misery, too much violence, too much corruption from among people in high places that hardly anyone now seems to care enough to change the way things go.
People are jaded, their hopes faded, their spirits sagging and their energies plummeting faster than the water tables underground are drying up. Without doubt, the next president of the country where I live will again be a minority president, as most of those who don’t care anymore most likely will leave the elections to those who have learnt that it can be an alternative way to make money without really trying very hard, at the expense of an enlightened democracy, courtesy of moneyed politicians who are out there to serve the best interests, not of the common good, but of big businesses.
Advent goes right smack against such a mentality of giving up, of copping out, and surrendering to the tides of the times. Advent is a blow to the jugular of a mentality that all is lost, and that there is nothing more one can ever do.
Advent is a challenge to the way we think - and act.
For one, it tells us to rejoice: “Sing joyfully, O daughter Zion!” And for good reason! For the Lord is distant, not far. “The Lord is in your midst, a mighty savior.”
Nearness is definitely very encouraging. Distance is very discouraging. There is nothing more demoralizing than knowing one is all alone, and far from the potential help and support of everyone.
Today, the readings tell us to raise our chins up high in joy and courage. “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”
But like the crowds, we now ask, as they did ask St. John the Baptist: “What should we do?”
This hits us point blank. Now that we are aware that the Lord is near, not far, that His Kingdom is in our midst, that He means to dwell with His people for all time, all those thoughts and convictions of nearness, ought to lead us, not to non-activity, but alert and active waiting in hope.
And mind you, those who asked John the Baptist what to do were people who really had a lot to do: tax collectors who needed to change their ways, soldiers who had a penchant for abusing their powers on the weak and defenseless, and the general populace who were too deeply steeped in their old ways.
They all asked. They all drew near to John. They all did something. They shied away from extortion. They veered away from all anxiety and empty self-recrimination. They all turned around.
Now, that my dear friends, is what you call metanoia – conversion!
Who says Advent is all about empty waiting? Advent is that, but more. It is joy. It is rejoicing for the Lord is near, not far. And if the Lord and His Kingdom is near, that waiting takes on a very active role.
So, chin up dear fellow believer. The Lord is near, not far. The Kingdom has come and is in our midst. But in the meantime, roll up your sleeves and get to work and help God make His kingdom come to everyone, to all, friend and foe alike.
So quit you being detached and despondent about earthly things. Do your part. Be what John was, a voice that actively cried out even in the wilderness!