CAFOD

CAFOD Advent Reflection – week 1

As Advent begins, we start to prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas time. But we also remember that we are waiting in hope and expectation for Christ who is to come. 

It is not easy to hold onto hope, especially in a world full of change, when we can sometimes feel as though we are lurching from one crisis to the next. But the season of Advent with its rich liturgy reminds us that whatever is coming, life carries on regardless. 

In the dark, short days of Advent, surrounded by the secular glitter and consumerism, we as a people of God are called to remember the promise of hope that has been made to us all in the world.  It is a promise made especially to those far away from fairy lights and piped Christmas music in stores laden with gifts for those who already have plenty. 

That Christ will come again to make all things new for everyone.  We do not know exactly when that will be, but, as we hear in the Gospel reading on the first Sunday of Advent, we are expected to be found ready and waiting, so that we are not caught unprepared. 

We are called to live differently, to show our readiness to welcome Christ in how we welcome others. Especially those who are poor, vulnerable, or marginalised in any way. 

Living differently can feel even more difficult in the Advent season, when the western world embraces consumerism wholeheartedly. 

Here is the psalm from the Mass readings on Thursday 1 December

R: Blessed in the name of the Lord is he who comes

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love endures forever.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men:

it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

Open to me the gates of holiness: I will enter and give thanks.

This is the Lord’s own gate where the just may enter

I will thank you for you have given answer and you are my saviour.

O Lord grant us salvation;

O Lord, grant success.

Blessed in the name of the Lord is he who comes. We bless you from the house of the Lord; the Lord God is our light.

Psalm117:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27 R v. 26.

A CAFOD story

The psalm speaks of taking refuge in the Lord whose love has no end. How even when other people let us down, God will bring us a place of safety. 

But perhaps we also have a role to play in opening the door of hope and of refuge, to the one who comes s

Nyanguet and her five children were forced to flee their house in South Sudan when their village came under attack and was burned down. Everything was lost. The family hid in mosquito-infested swampland, going days without food.

When it was safe to emerge, Nyanguet and her children courageously began a 130km journey to find refuge. 

They were welcomed by another community, who generously shared what little food and water they had. This community opened their doors to Nyanguet, giving her somewhere to stay, even giving her some land to grow her own food. 

She has registered with our local experts who have made sure that she had food to eat straight away, as well as the farm tools and seeds that she needs to grow her own in the future.

She said, “I am really pleased now I have moved out of trouble. My children and I feel safe here now. I am optimistic I will harvest enough food for my family.”

Prayer:

We stay awake, watch and wait, for we do not know the hour or the day of your arrival.

Come, Lord, bringer of hope.

Create in us a desire for a world transformed to reflect your glory.

Come, Lord, bringer of hope

Lead us in your ways, as together we make a change, to dispel the darkness of poverty.

Come Lord, bringer of hope.

Copies of the CAFOD World Gifts catalogue are now available to collect at both churches or look online at cafod.org.uk/worldgifts