During this last week and a half of Advent — as we await the celebration of the coming of our Lord, and as we continue to contemplate the Year of Mercy, I feel like we are very clearly being called to serve our neighbors right now — to serve the weary, to show compassion and to practice mercy.
We’re being called to serve the homeless. The poor. The hungry. The strangers. The ones who disagree with us. The hurting. The sick. The lonely. The ones grieving. The ones who are unexpectedly pregnant. The ones who don’t have anyone to turn to. The ones who feel as if all hope is lost.
Jesus Christ came into the world as a poor, vulnerable baby. If He came into the world today, would we serve Him? Would we clothe Him, feed Him, help Mary and Joseph find a home and eat a warm meal? Or would we turn our faces away and hope that someone else would come along to help?
Jesus Christ came once into our world, but the truth is also that He is here with us every single day — inside of ourselves, and inside of the people around us. So just as we ask ourselves whether we would serve Him today if He were to be born all over again, we should also ask ourselves whether we’re willing to serve Him in the people we come across daily. Today. Right now. Five minutes ago.
Sometimes we are the weary in need of help, and sometimes the weary is our neighbor or a complete stranger. When it’s the latter, Jesus is waiting for us to notice their hurting hearts.
“He’s waiting for us to care, and then to act. He’s waiting for us to honor him by loving our neighbor, no matter how messy it might get or what it might cost us. He came to ransom the captives. Every last one of us.” (Shannan Martin)
Pope Francis’ twitter account shared a special message just two days ago with one goal that we should try to achieve each day: “to convey the tenderness of Christ to those who are most in need.”
Jesus is tender! It begs the question, “Am I?”
There is no better time than to reflect on the most vulnerable of this world, and to act — to convey the tenderness of Christ to those in need, than during Advent and Christmas when we prepare for the birth of our Lord, who comes to us as a small baby.
To prepare to celebrate His coming on Christmas Day, my husband and I are praying the Christmas Novena through Pray More Novenas. Consider joining us in prayer – we started just yesterday!