Becoming the miracle

– Wednesday of the First Week of Advent –

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” [Matthew 15:29 – 37]

Get used to the fact that God wishes to use you to ‘feed the people’. It doesn’t matter whether you are a priest, a religious or a lay person, God is looking to you to provide assistance to those who are in need in whatever form it presents itself. “Somebody should do something” are words you can no longer say. “I need to do something…whatever I can…God help me to do it” is the only legitimate response. God’s reply to our regular prayer for those in need is “I hear your prayer and will use you to attend to it”. The only question is, do we still want to make that prayer?

People suffer, some of them quite considerably. Whether it’s spiritual, physical, economic, social or psychological, suffering abounds. Here’s what we know about suffering from a faith perspective. Firstly, God never causes it. Secondly, God appears to allow it (I say ‘appears’ because there may be plenty of occasions for suffering that may have come your way which you will never know about, had God not intervened). Thirdly, that God took on our life in this world so that he could experience the suffering we experience, and so redeem it. Finally, that God wishes to work with and in each of us to address the needs of the world (see today’s Gospel reading). He takes the paltry bits and pieces we manage to scramble together and, through them, he addresses the needs of those who suffer. But if we are not willing to offer the little we have, there is nothing he can do.

Advent is the time to think and reflect on what it means to allow Jesus Christ to be reborn in our lives. This is less about the wonder of God as a little baby (although it includes that too), than it is about the confronting thought that the divine is made present in and through the human. You are to be Jesus Christ for the world. That is what your baptism means. Feed the hungry.

By Shane Dwyer

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