Awake, it’s Advent




Our magnificent daily, The Toronto Star  still suffused with the principles of its Methodist  founder Joe Atkinson (comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable) is constant its defense of the common good. It resists the dismantling of the commons by stealth of the Harper government, as mean-spirited aggregation we have ever seen.

There is a columnist Carole Goar who is a national treasure. She sees society from the bottom up.

This is from her Dec.12 column

In the final hours before Parliament adjourned for its eight-week Christmas recess, James Rajotte , chair of the finance committee, quietly tabled Income Equality in Canada: An Overview.

 A quick glance at the 69-page report shows why the Conservative MP waited until the last possible moment to release it, precluding parliamentary debate and minimizing public attention.

It is a pathetic piece of work. It heaps praise on Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his regressive policies. It says nothing about lifting low-income Canadians out of poverty, nothing about tackling the desperate shortage of affordable housing in the country, nothing about increasing the Canada Child Tax Benefit, nothing about improving public pensions and nothing about shoring up the country’s deteriorating social programs. 

The Canadian Catholic Bishops should put her columns on their website.

But I digress.

I try to take the Advent advice seriously. Awake, look around, shake yourself from your slumber.

On one side we are called to “pay attention”. See what PM Harper and his gang is doing. The values of the kingdom challenge me to denounce such terrible policies and to act to change them. My politics are never contained in any one party. The politics of the kingdom  or God’s holy commonwealth informs my electoral politics. I will never find the perfect party so I must come to terms with the human condition and support the one which most embodies the gospel values I hold dear. Needless to say the Harperites fail calamitously here. Their disregard for the poor and their horrible violation of the earth put them beyond the pale.

But denunciation  is just a part of my choice. I must have an annunciation. Where is the good new in my daily life which i must celebrate , champion and sing about.

The second Sunday of Advent, Jesus’ favourite prophet Isaiah reminds  with righteousness he will judge the needy,with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.” Hence Carole Goar.

Ah but on the Third Sunday, the gospel announces,” Go back and report to John what you hear and see:  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” (Matt.11:4,5)

Look around and see the miracles of human compassion, solidarity, human concern.

Peter Mayer’s contemporary hymn  Everything is Holy

Read a questioning child’s face

And say it’s not a testament

That’d be very hard to say

See another new morning come

And say it’s not a sacrament

 On the way into the coffee shop outside  the daycare I laughed as a 2 year old, his father watching in bemusement, stomped with glee through the snow.

And last week getting off the Go Train at night I fell and scraped my knee and hand. I heard, a voice behind me ”Are you alright, sir”, I looked up from the ground and saw a young man rush toward me. I am still living in the glow of that solicitousness. A pure sacramental moment.

Everything is holy now.

Gaudete, rejoice!

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