Have you forgotten that Christ is in you? Activate Christ by doing things to improve ourselves and others.


Have you forgotten that Christ is in you? Activate Christ by doing things to improve ourselves and others.

In our online sharing this week, the youth discussed what is Advent really trying to teach us?  Is it really just that Jesus was born in a stable 2,000 years ago and we should be excited? Or is it something more relevant and immediate for today?

As we heard in the First Reading, Advent wakes us up to recognise Christ within each other and for us to stop hiding Christ from others:

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me.  He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison; to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.

The words “unknown to you” kept haunting my mind, as I reflected on the Gospel reading.  How often has Christ been speaking to me, or available for me to ask for help, and I don’t recognise Him?

Do we truly believe that God cares about my little life?  Perhaps we have fallen into a little pit of despair or accepting that my life is boring: as actor Jack Nicholson said: this is as good as it gets.  I can’t swear here, so let me just say that’s rubbish: God is the God of Surprises!

Each of you has so much to offer the world but, like a buried treasure, we often keep quiet.  They say the best security in a house is not a safe-box, but to hide your valuables in plain sight.  Well, there are many treasures of God walking around in plain sight today!!!

And one of them is you!  If you are bored, sad for an extended time, sleeping half the day away, often complaining, taking drugs or getting drunk all the time.  Then it’s time to realise that God has placed a treasure inside you.

Worse still, how often do I reject Christ in others because I’m too proud, or lacking in courage to try something new?  As we get smarter and more knowledgeable, it can be the reason why we develop a certain arrogance in our thinking: that we are smarter than others!

As Mark Twain once said about his Dad: ‘when I was 14 I thought my dad was so dumb!  But when I celebrated my 21st birthday, I was amazed how much he had learned in the last 7 years!

A friend of mine set her email signature to say: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (written by Mr Gandhi, India).  As human beings, we are often more comfortable pointing the finger at others for problems in the world, or for why I’m not happy myself.

The Gospel calls us to do two things: 1) be the “voice that cries in the wilderness;” and 2) to recognise that voice in others, so that “a straight way for the Lord” may be created.

The straight way for the Lord is not God wanting to parade in front of us to impress us but, rather, to empower us!  God’s joy comes when each of us, you and I, are fully alive (as St Irenaeus said 1,700 years ago!).

God created us to be great!  To be alive, to be a co-creator in the world. But how many of us are the walking dead, crying out “poor me”?

When we think about John’s words “unknown to you”, does it challenge us to let Christ be born by opening our eyes to the opportunities around us?  Does it challenge us to think about the people we didn’t want to listen to in the last 12 months, who may have been Christ challenging us, or pushing us to a deeper understanding of something?

Our youth Andrew shared an experience this week: he asked a roadside hardware shop owner to how to build a large chicken coup.  Now, Andrew has already invested many hours designing and costing the project (construction and operation), for the good of our Oblate youth group.

But, instead of assuming that his design is the best, he asked the man to explain how he should do it.  The first step to being born: give the voice a chance to cry in the wilderness (=humility).  So the man explained, and Andrew learned some new ideas.

The man then went a step further and took Andrew to his supply yard some distance away and showed the materials available that Andrew had not thought of.  This is the second step to being born: give the voice a chance to Make a straight way for the Lord.  Andrew thinks he will now save about 35% of the construction costs he had calculated.

The official theme of JOY for the third week of Advent challenges us to be active for the good of others so that JOY make gently wake us up to know how much God loves us.

In spite of criticism John the Baptist never lost hope: probably sad for a while, but not for long!  When we live to promote others, life will have meaning and lots of joy.

By Gerard Conlan, OMI