Thursday of the First Week

Readings

Is 26:1-6
Ps 118:1 and 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a
Mt 7:21, 24-27

 

Reflection:

Today, December 7, is a memorable one for our nation (1941: Pearl Harbor Day) and for myself (1978: the day I passed the oral exam for my doctorate).  It is a day deserving of reflection at both the public and personal level; and today's readings provides ample food for thought.
 
I am moved by the shared imagery and ideas contained across the material - "gates of justice," "the Lord as our rock" and "trust in the Lord."  As exemplified by the Life of Jesus - born in humble circumstances; forced to flee from a fearful prince; raised in a faithful family; nurtured by His Father's Love; moved to heal the sick, forgive the sinner and comfort the troubled; teacher, companion and Savior - the Christ showed the way to salvation.
 
In these days of division and discord around the world and across our nation, today's teachings proffer that the wise and prudent position and path to follow is to be on and by the side of God's Will.  What is eternal and lasting, solid and substantive is that which humanity has been offered by God since our origins - the free will to choose the way of the Lord or the way of Man.
 
In a time of nationalism, nativism and narcissism, the season of Advent reminds us of a viable alternative, one based on compassion, community and the common good.  We are often offered opportunities to demonstrate hostility or hospitality, retributive or restorative justice, selfishness or sacrifice, greed or generosity.
 
The basic question asked of us is simply "What would Christ do?"  Would Jesus ban or welcome the stranger?  Would He preserve the power of the privileged or protect the poor?  Would He build a wall or open a gate?
 
Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. has written: "The gate that leads to life is not about restrictions at all.  It is about entry into the expansive."  May all who profess to trust in the Lord, have courage to enter this gate and become instruments of God's Will to proclaim as the angels did to the shepherds: "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth and good will to all."
 
Robert J. Moser, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego