Returning to Ourselves

Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent by FAN Board Member, Ms. Carolyn Townes

This reflection was originally posted in our November 28th newsletter


John the Baptist had a difficult task ahead of him. From the time he leaped in his mother’s womb, John’s divine assignment was ordained. He was to be the herald of the coming Messiah. He was to pave the way for the message and mission of the Christ.

During Advent, the appearance of John is very prominent and no less so in this Sunday’s readings. We hear John doing exactly what the Lord called him to do – preach repentance to the people of his day. This is what John was called to do: to usher in a new way of being with Jesus.

But John also had to practice what he preached. It wasn’t enough for him to point the finger of condemnation at others; he also had to look in the mirror of the waters of the Jordan River where he baptized. John had to keep his own heart pure as he was anointed and appointed by God to shepherd His people until the coming of the Son of God.

“The need to advise, admonish and teach should not make us feel superior to others, but first of all oblige us to return to ourselves to see if we are consistent with that we ask of others,” Pope Francis told his audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Part of our call to practice what we preach is to act with mercy. We must be about the business of kingdom justice; hearing the cries of the poor and the afflicted and doing what is ours to do to alleviate their suffering. We too are called, like John, to work for a more just society, bearing with one another in mercy and love. The task will not be easy, but we are gifted with the spirit of grace which assists as we need. As Pope Francis said, we must consistently “return to ourselves” to exercise that spirit of grace and mercy.

During this Advent season, as you examine your thoughts, words and actions, do you return to yourself to make sure you are practicing what you preach? Or, are you calling others to repentance without checking yourself in the mirror of the Word of God?

Loving and merciful God, grant us the grace to see what we need to see in order to do what is ours to do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Carolyn D. Townes, OFS
National Animator, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
U.S. Secular Franciscan Order
FAN Board Member

Published in: on November 29, 2016 at 9:35 am  Leave a Comment  

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