December 15, 2020
by Colleen Chiacchere
Creighton University's Magis Teacher Corp
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 188

Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13
Psalm 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19, 23
Matthew 21:28-32

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An Advent Parish Mission in Two Nights

We are in the third week of Advent, one marked by joy that our Savior’s arrival is near!  But, it can be hard to feel joy, particularly during these times of intense struggling in our world.  Our readings highlight some potential barriers for us to feeling the joy of Christ’s arrival.

In our readings today, we hear from the prophet Zephaniah in the first reading, and about Jesus in the Gospel reading about those who hear, believe and act. A theme that emerges for me is about the need to examine our behaviors and lifestyle, and perhaps exhibit God’s mercy in new and explicit ways.  Jesus highlights how some of the religious leaders, and those who would have been expected to enter the kingdom of God, seemingly ignored the message of repentance and believing.  Perhaps they lacked follow through, having good intentions but not really showing their change of heart in their deeds.

It may be easy for me, and for us, to judge others.  It may be commonplace for us to measures ourselves as being in a place that is more advanced or better than others – others who are not as religious, not as moral, not as open to receiving God’s call.  We may have heard Jesus’ words for many years and think that we can be complacent with our deeds.  And yet, Jesus calls out this thinking and invites all of us to a deep openness to letting our hearts fall in love with, and be led by Jesus today during this Advent season and each day as we move forward.  

There are some challenging questions that these readings invite me to.  I ask myself:

  • Where have I been quick to say “yes” in working in the vineyard but then lacked the follow through, or prioritization or real listening?
  • When have I thought that I already knew how what to do and didn’t deeply hear what God was asking of me? 
  • When have I doubted others’ willingness or ability to act in line with God’s invitation?
  • When have I, even subtly, judged others and perceived myself as better than others?

And so, this season, as we are all struggling in new and ongoing ways, I pray for Christ’s light to transform my heart and deeds, and all of our hearts and deeds. I invite us to ask ourselves where we might change and intentionally act this season, potentially in a new and different way. We pray to know and model Christ’s joy in the world – particularly in this global pandemic, with increased COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths, in our economic insecurity, in our striving for racial justice and justice for all those on the margins.    

In these remaining days of this Advent season, may we truly know the joy that Christ offers us.

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