I am stirred by this verse in today's epistle: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!"
I am in dialogue with a wonderfully bright, sensitive and concerned young man. He initially described himself as cynical and agnostic.
Looking around the world he observes growing numbers of poor, growing violence especially among religious groups, growing destruction of the environment. "How can one not be cynical about the future of our planet," he asks. And more, "How can one not be cynical about the state of religion?"
And so we share. I explain how I avoid cynicism even amid awareness of the problems he lists. I explain the Good News of Jesus' coming: our God, Emmanuel, came to earth two thousand years ago and dwells with us today, light in darkness! I share my experience as a college teacher of finding God in my daily life in many ways but especially in my students, colleagues, friends -- and in him! Yes, I share with him the deep fulfillment I experience in connecting with God through his own integrity, goodness, concern for others. Daily, I explain, I am renewed by the experience of God's presence. Yes, Emmanuel remains with us.
A few days later he drops by my office to tell me he went to church to pray for a friend in trouble. It felt right. He was surprised.
A week later he drops by again. He has prayed three times. He begins tearing. He asks, "Why have I been so cynical?"
During this season of Advent and on this feast of St. Andrew the Apostle we ask ourselves: Are we willing to share our faith in the Good News of Jesus' coming with those who have not fully heard or fully heeded the implications of this coming? Paul's epistle challenges us: "How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? How can they hear without someone to preach?"
"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!" Are mine the feet God has anointed to bring someone the Good News this season?
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