Pave the way to Christ for others

    December 19, 2023
    Advent reflection day 17 graphic. Watercolor brush strokes of Christmas tree branches in white and pale green and red holly berries.

    Today’s Gospel focuses on Zechariah and Elizabeth’s faith journey with God and God’s plan for their son, John the Baptist.

    They were afraid about having a child at their age. Fear is a feeling we all encounter in our faith journeys. Catholic Charities employees and volunteers often fear for the well-being of our clients and the overall well-being of our agencies. This is natural, because we care, and because we are mission-driven organizations.

    In times of fear, we must lean into our faith and our relationships. Faith draws us into communion with others. We can rely on coworkers and board members to help us navigate the daily challenges and frustrations we face. God puts these people in our lives to support us. Just like God never deserted Zechariah and Elizabeth with the birth of John, God will never abandon us in our work at Catholic Charities.

    As faithful Christians, we can get frustrated and disillusioned with what seems like the unchangeability of our lives and our circumstances. This is a relatable feeling for those in social ministry as we take countless phone calls, struggle through the endless paperwork, and the constant grind of fundraising. It’s so easy to lose sight of why we are doing what we are doing, especially if we don’t see results.

    Today’s readings remind us not to give up; God is with us, and God is relying on us to help pave the way to Christ for others. May we continue to lead others to Christ through our prayers and our work, just as John the Baptist did.

    Brian Smith is the Director of Parish Engagement for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and proudly serves on the Parish Social Ministry Leadership Team for Catholic Charities USA.

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