Wholeness and belonging

    December 15, 2023
    Advent reflection day 13 graphic. Watercolor brush strokes of Christmas tree branches in white and pale green and red holly berries.

    During this season of preparation and anticipation, our tradition calls us to reflection. As we journey through the Second Week of Advent, our theme is Peace. Peace does not simply represent a cessation of conflict, but rather a state of wholeness and belonging. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks: “To what shall I compare this generation?”

    Are we sitting idle, waiting for others to act?

    Are we seeking value, by finding first the faults in others?

    Are we accepting the opportunity, to find Jesus in the face of our neighbor?

    I find the season of Advent to be a paradox. We are living in festive joy and anticipation for the coming of the Christ child! At the same time, we are reflecting on our readiness to meet the King of Kings. The Church, in its wisdom, has given us this season to work on a few things.

    Have no fear! Our Lord is generous and kind, always meeting us “where we are.” He meets us where we are in times of joy and also in times of brokenness. I believe our work at Catholic Charities embraces this paradoxical reality in the lives of those we meet every day. We meet our neighbors where they are, but we do not stay there. Walking together, we discover a new place full of opportunities, and maybe even peace.

    Advent calls us to togetherness like no other time in the year, and maybe it is this that allows us the grace to be more open to peace in our own lives. It is together where we discover new opportunities to embrace the gift given to us through the Incarnation, a gift that allows us to see Jesus in our neighbors, while at the same time lets others see Jesus in us.

    Kelley Henderson serves as the President and CEO of Catholic Social Services in Columbus, Ohio, helping seniors and families reach their potential for over 78 years.

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