"The Lord will come; He will not delay".
So often during Advent, we repeat this and similar themes. The liturgy, and the readings in particular, assures us that we can trust God to bring peace, security, and justice to our lives.
In contrast, we see and hear about great famines in Ethiopia and Africa in general, hi-jacks, thousands of poor in India killed or maimed by a chemical disaster. At this moment, I am trying to negotiate my way through a series of transport strikes to travel interstate. These very strikes are a witness to the disharmony in our own country.
What has happened to God' s promises made so long ago, and so often? When will he come?
We can sit and lament and question God. Or, like St. Francis, we can look at ourselves and the priorities of our hearts and ask God, "What do you want me to do?"
The Gospel came alive for Francis. He tried to rebuild churches, then the Church, but above all, he rebuilt himself by allowing Christ to come to him and love him. And then he was able to bring Jesus Christ into his own world and into the lives of so many people, including us. Indeed, we were well aware of Christ's presence in our lives when he first called us to become Franciscans, and on so many occasions since.
Jesus depends on us as he did on Francis to bring him to birth in our world. Strangely, God became man to change the world; he used human ways, so to speak. What a paradox! It is not so strange, then, that Christ's coming into the lives of people today should depend on us. This is God's wisdom.
May the feast of the Lord's birth give us the grace to see that our wisdom is foolishness to God, and the faith to allow Jesus Christ to be born in us and in our world, by our sincere "yes" to him at Christmas.