The Gospel Acclamation on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, this week’s Sunday, put it very clearly:
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor.
The Lord speaks through the prophet Isaiah. And the Lord speaks through (as) Jesus of Nazareth. And the Lord speaks to (and hopes to speak through) the Church. And the message is the same: there is good news for the poor.
This is not the good news that is peddled by the stores and on-line outlets – bargains, best ‘this’, most neat ‘that’.
It is not the romanticism that is ladled at civic (and some other!) Christmas Carol Services.
It is truth about real lives being refashioned and healed. It is good news for the blind, the lame, the morally corrupt and others, who receive the opportunity to begin a new style of life. Knowing themselves as in some sense excluded and marginalised, they hear the welcome home and are offered the embrace that is theirs as children of the Father. They are given, again, the opportunity of living as such.
‘We’ are given again… For there is none of us who see as clearly as we might; who make our way through life with purpose and direction as we might; none of us whose actions and decisions and thoughts and feelings aren’t messed up by pride or greed or fear, by a self-ism that puts us and ours first and discriminates against ‘them’.
Some sin more gravely than others, but God’s family as a whole is mighty dysfunctional!
And God’s family is loved with a mighty love. There is good news for even the rich…
- How, today, will you share the good news shared with you?
Many parishes will be having services of reconciliation at this time. They give opportunity to receive the personal ministry of the Church through word, prayer, song and Sacrament, and to confess our sins and failings.
Why not make a special effort in this year of Mercy to seek one out and to take part.
Photograph of Sutton Coldfield shopping centre. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.