12 December 2019
12 Dec 2019

Third Sunday of Advent: Contemplating the Faces of Christ

by  Fr. Peter McKenna, scj (CAN)

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2019-11-29 Advento

This is Gaudete Sunday, the beginning of rejoicing. The colours of rose with hues of the dawn beckon us to be “sentinels of the dawn”. Yet, we live in a world often characterized as an age of despair, a world to which Pope Francis urges us to “say no” to a culture of indifference. We recognize this darkness and the apparent hopelessness of the present situation yet gradually as our eyes adjust to the darkness of despair, we begin to see emerging shapes or outlines of God’s great and mysterious love. What matters in the long run, though, is not only that we are hopeful but that we act hopefully, that we do whatever we can, with “faith which grounds our hope”. (CsT. 9). 

With Fr. Dehon, we too are called to “imprint an authentic Eucharistic culture”. This way of thinking and acting is summarized in three words: communion, service and mercy” (His Way is our Way). This is our Dehonian identity. It can perhaps be best lived out in our responses to the words of Saint Basil, who in the fourth century said:

“The bread that is left over at your table

is the bread of the hungry;

the clothing hanging in your closet

is the clothing of the one who is naked;

the shoes you are not wearing

are the shoes of the person who is barefoot;

the money you have stored is the money of the needy; 

and the works of charity that you do not do

are the injustices you commit.”


Advent then invites us to discover the faces of Christ amongst the victims of injustice, the poor and the marginalized, the refugee and the outcast. Only those who have gone through the personal conversion from ethnocentrism to intercultural sensitivity will have eyes to see and hearts to love the suffering, those who are invisible and excluded from the contemporary world. Bottom line, so to speak, as Saint Oscar Romero clearly puts it:  “Collaborate in the people’s process.  They are the protagonists in this hour of change.”  As Dehonians we must stand with today’s prophets who are calling us to be a light in the darkness and a sign of God’s hope wherever we find ourselves.




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