Syrian Refugees in Serbia. Image courtesy of CRSSeveral days ago I was looking at a segment on the evening news about the plight of Syrian refugees when one of my sisters commented, “What would we do?” I immediately replied, “I probably would be dead after one day.” I have often tried to put myself in the shoes of these women who were fleeing for their lives, often after witnessing the torture and murder of family and loved ones. I have tried to imagine their terror, desperation and fear, their loss and their hunger.In the first reading of this Second Sunday of Advent, the prophet Baruch writes of a time similar to our own. He describes a nation that has suffered destruction and misery, similar to that experienced today by people in Central America, North Africa, the Middle East and other areas of the world. Baruch writes of a people in exile because of war and violence in the land of their birth. In the Gospel, John the Baptist proclaims the coming of Jesus into a violent and unjust world. His words bring hope for a new spirit of peace, a path in the disordered wilderness of violence and war. The Incarnation, God taking on our humanity out of love, shows us that the path to peace is recognizing this humanity and connection to the Divine in all people.
We are all brothers and sisters because of Jesus. Through Baptism, God has “begun a good work in us.” (Phil. 1:6) As followers of Jesus, how are we being called to continue this good work? How are we to make the “winding roads straight and the rough ways smooth” (Lk 3:5) for the more than 60 million children, women and men forced from their homes today due to violence? How would our ancestors, who first came to this country to escape their persecutions, answer the call of the new immigrants to our country? How would they respond to the needs of refugees in the world today?
As the winter weather descends on the countries surrounding Syria, the cold and wet conditions will only make the situation more dire. Catholic Relief Services has taken the lead in providing the basic needs of refugees throughout the world. A description of their work in the nations surrounding Syria may be accessed by clicking here. In the remaining weeks of Advent, take a few minutes to imagine yourself in the shoes of one of our brothers and sisters in exile. What would you do? What can you do to continue the good work God has begun in you?
Sr. Maryanne Mueller, CSSF
Second Sunday of Advent, by Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF,
The following reflection is for the Second Sunday of Advent, by Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF, FAN Board Member.
This reflection was originally posted in our November 30th newsletter