Friday of the First Week
ReflectionEcclesiastes 3:1 says “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” and this holds true as we enter into advent; a time of thanksgiving, a time of preparation for the coming of Christ, and a time to spread joy, hope, peace, and love to all of those around us. In the season of Advent there is an opportunity for gratitude for all we have, a time to serve those in need, a time to feast and enjoy time with our loved ones, and a time to spread the hope and joy that we have as Christmas draws near.
I find it to be no coincidence that the reading from Matthew’s Gospel comes at the beginning of the season of Advent as the story of the blind men is a story of humility, faithfulness, service, hope in an end to present sufferings. It is a true call to action by Jesus as the story of the blind men comes in the midst of several other miracles performed as he calms a storm, awakes the dead, forgives the sins of many, lets the lame walk, and casts out demons, but after all of this he informs his disciples that “the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few so it is the responsibility of his followers to do the same unto others. With this call, we as followers of Christ are called to be the ones that gives sight to the blind, let the lame walk, forgive the unforgivable, love the unlovable, and walk in solidarity with all of those on the margins. Through this, we can be the hands and feet within the Body of Christ and spread his love and joy to all the world.
I can see these works on display each and every day as I am privileged with the opportunity to serve those experiencing homelessness through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps at a non-profit in Nashville, TN call Room In The Inn. While there are a variety of sub-issues surrounding homelessness and many obstacles impact the day to day lives of those participating in our programs and services, just as the blind men, all who come to Room In The Inn humble ask for assistance with a faith and hope that their situation will get better. While I try to do what I can to connect those I serve with necessary resources, the place where I truly see “sight given to the blind” is when they are able to help each other through whatever circumstances they may find themselves in and in the ways they remain hopeful in all circumstances. This role has certainly humbled me as well as it has given my sight through the lives of others that may be stereotyped, stigmatized, and marginalized by the rest of society. Whether we are blinded by a barrier or obstacle in our lives or blinded by our own inability to see in the eyes of others, sight can be regained by a level of faith and humility to not be too proud to ask for help but also to be able to enter into the lives of others and gain sight by seeing through their eyes.
-Alec Hartman '16, Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Nashville, TN