Stand up and raise your heads
As we are entering the season of Advent, today’s Gospel paints for us a picture of the attitude of actively awaiting. “Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28) Stand up, raise your heads, be ready for action and make a difference! An awakened heart is able to empathize with the poor and marginalized, and to speak up for justice, peace and reconciliation. Standing up is just the beginning of making that first step towards the action.
In the letter to the young people on the occasion of the World Youth Day 2021, Pope Francis calls this attitude forward:
“Today Christ speaks to you the same words that he spoke to Paul: Arise! Do not remain downcast or caught up in yourself: a mission awaits you! You too can testify to what Jesus has begun to accomplish in your lives. In Jesus’ name, I ask you:
Arise! Testify that you too were blind and encountered the light. You too have seen God’s goodness and beauty in yourself, in others and in the communion of the Church, where all loneliness is overcome.
Arise! Testify to the love and respect it is possible to instill in human relationships, in the lives of our families, in the dialogue between parents and children, between the young and the elderly.
Arise! Uphold social justice, truth and integrity, human rights. Protect the persecuted, the poor and the vulnerable, those who have no voice in society, immigrants.
Arise! Testify to the new way of looking at things that enables you to view creation with eyes brimming with wonder, that makes you see the Earth as our common home, and gives you the courage to promote an integral ecology.
Arise! Testify that lives of failure can be rebuilt, that persons spiritually dead can rise anew, that those in bondage can once more be free, that hearts overwhelmed by sorrow can rediscover hope.
Arise! Testify joyfully that Christ is alive! Spread his message of love and salvation among your contemporaries, at school and in the university, at work, in the digital world, everywhere.”
The essence of vocation is the answer to God’s calling, embracing God’s mission at this place and our particular time. Whatever our vocation is, we are all called to “stand up and raise our heads” for healthy relationships, social justice, human rights and the integrity of creation, for proclaiming the Gospel and witnessing it through our actions. May this advent be a time for “standing up and raising our heads”! The number of chocolates we eat from the Advent calendar won’t make the world a better place; but our awakened heart will!
By Jarek Pachocki, OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Director