Daily Reflection
December 7th, 2005

Joan Lanahan

SPAHP and Physical Theraphy and Occupational Therapy
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Memorial of St. Ambrose

Isaiah 40:25-31
Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 and 10
Matthew 11:28-30


This Advent comes with a heavy-hearted world. Once a good Jesuit told me, “Joan, don’t read the newspapers. It's too depressing.” That is so true. The news is full of wars, nationalistic pride and power-grabbing and posturing, natural disasters with peoples’ lives lost or in upheaval, church scandals. Too each week I hear of another friend or acquaintance with cancer or some other big, ugly disease.

To be people of hope we need to be abreast of our world’s trauma and needs. Vatican II calls us to “be signs of hope”. Today’s readings are a great comfort and always give me “reasons for living and hoping” (also from the Vatican II documents).

Jesus speaks of his “yoke” as “easy” and his “burden light”. Jesus was aware of his deep relationship with God as Father, and today for many of us, God as Mother. God’s promise of a world or “reign” or “kingdom” of love and peace and justice is really the picture of God’s love, given and received by all.

Sometimes images are more vital than words. My image of heaven is a huge party where all of my ancestors, family, friends and those who would be friends are enjoying God’s presence together. That heaven is meant to be lived now, believed in now, worked for now.

When Jesus says “come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you”, he invites us to know that God is caring for our world in its troublespots. In Isaiah we hear, “God gives strength to the fainting, for the weak he makes vigor abound”.

In the midst of such weary news, whether worldwide, national, local, or personal, take a deep breath. Relax your mind and heart and breathe. Breath in the love and kindness and graciousness of God. Be aware of an act of kindness given to you or someone you know.

Give thanks for the small kindnesses and mercies that can burst that mushroom cloud of doom and gloom.

Remember that old movie, “Pay It Forward”, where one person’s kindness is passed along to another in need? That is a good activity for Advent people who hope in the Lord, who trust in God’s presence in troubled times, who are called to be “People of Hope and Courage”. Choose to pay forward God’s gracious love and REST in God.

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