Advent Riffs: Third Sunday

Advent candles, Third Sunday
Advent candles, Third Sunday, photo by Melly95, used under Creative Commons license

Time grows shorter with the days. I have baked my Christmas cookies, but have not wrapped gifts, or even finished finding gifts. Then comes this Sunday’s reminder: 

The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none. 
And whoever has food should do likewise.”

This is a sharing season. I have a warm house, too many “cloaks,” food to share. I also have a story from my friend, Barbara, about a Twin Cities family she knows: 

In spite of vaccinations, COVID’s got them.

It began with one, and quickly spread to all.

Living in the confines of a dilapidated mobile home ensured that.

He has no insurance

They have no car.

They have minimally functioning plumbing.

They are scrambling for food.

They have the kind of debt that comes only with deep poverty.

Think predatory lending.

Think constant fear of deportation for a minor infraction.

Think being so far on the margins that you’re invisible.

Think about a daily goal of little more than surviving.

Think of the holidays as a stark reminder of having next to nothing.


Barbara will post a GoFundMe page to help this family. I’ll add it in here as soon as she does. 

In August, we all watched as more than 70,000 people were airlifted out of Afghanistan. Since then, at least 438 Afghan refugees have arrived in Minnesota. When they left their homes, they could only bring one small suitcase. Now they need everything. Minnesota’s refugee resettlement office has lists of ways you can help, from volunteering to making welcome kits to cash donations. 

One cloak. Shared food. It seems so little against the needs of the world. 

One candle. It seems so small against the darkness. 

Maryknoll’s Advent meditation includes these words from Bishop Ken Untener:

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

One seed, one candle, one step at a time. Every effort, every letter to a representative, every prayer, every dollar given in love, every effort to protect the climate, every kind word spoken: we can share something in this season of sharing. 

1 Comment

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One response to “Advent Riffs: Third Sunday

  1. Barbara

    Oh, Mary, I just found this! Thank you SO much!!!

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