Reflections: December 2018

By Father Chris Thomas

Dom Hélder Câmara was the Archbishop of Recife in Brazil and a tireless campaigner for social justice. He was best known in this country for the statement he made which was put on Cafod posters everywhere: 'When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist.'

I was very lucky to meet Dom Hélder and I remember him saying how his challenging question of 'why' was too much for a lot of people and for many years a hate campaign was launched against him and he was treated with a lot of suspicion for simply asking 'Why?'.

The truth is none of us like change and we will do almost anything to resist it. We are all people of tradition but tradition, to most people, means what we have grown used to in their lives. We all presume that what we have done, and what we have been taught, in our lifetime is right. I guess that is why we don't like people like Dom Hélder who turn our world upside down.

The truth is that change is essential to life. It gives us the ability to grow and develop. How do we enter into relationships if we are not changing and growing all the time? Relationships have to grow and develop or they become stale and eventually break down. If we can't change, then how can we get closer to God?

This call to change is central to the Gospel. Change is essential in our relationship with God and in so far as we are prepared to be open to change within ourselves and within the community that we are part of, then we are open to God. It is to let go of our own understandings and meanings and begin to open ourselves to the ways of God.

Advent invites us into the whole process of change, of opening ourselves up to meet the ever-coming God. It is not just another year. Through the Scriptures we read and reflect on, we are reminded that God is coming in a way that we least expect. Unless we change within and are ready then we might not be ready for God breaking into our lives. Don't waste this wonderful time of watching and waiting and looking and searching. Let it touch your heart and in letting it touch your heart, let it change you deeply within.