As we continue on our Advent journey, we seem to be racing toward Christmas and the gifts of newborn hope, joy and optimism that await us through the holy celebration of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus — in just two weeks!
Christmas is also a sobering reminder that our Savior and King of the Universe came into the world as a homeless and poor refugee, being born outside and placed in an animal trough. More than 2000 years later, most of us don’t have to look far to see the plight of so many of God’s most vulnerable children who face these same inhumane conditions, here in the richest and most powerful nation known to mankind.
Part of my personal struggle is that while I take some satisfaction in knowing that the transforming outcomes of our teams, volunteers and donors really make a difference with our struggling clients, I often carry home the weight of those that still suffer in silence with no hope.
When I began to pray over writing this reflection, I was drawn to today’s Responsorial Psalm: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face, and we shall be saved.” As Pope Francis, the Jesuit, models so beautifully, the “both/and” takeaway for me is to humbly implore the Holy Family to help open my heart to this message of renewal and salvation: for me, for those we serve and those who serve.
Heading home after a long day with an “empty tank,” especially at this time of year, the gift of renewal and hope can sometimes pass me by while I am leaning in to our work without the recognition of the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit on my shoulder. Maybe you can relate.
Dear Lord, please open the hearts and minds of my colleagues and me to be aware and open to our need for refreshment and new life for our souls. Father in Heaven, make us strong, and give us new life, as we call upon your Name to heal us, to strengthen us, and to save us. Amen.
Deacon Thomas Roberts is President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.