ADVENT REFLECTIONS: THE TREASURES OF VATICAN II
“[This Synod] places great hope in [religious institutes'] work, which is so fruitful, whether it be hidden or in public. All religious, therefore, with undiminished faith, with charity towards God and their neighbor, with love for the cross and with the hope of future glory, should spread the good news of Christ throughout the whole world…”
(Decree on the up-to-date Renewal of Religious Life)
By The Rev. Scott Maxwell
Are you baking cookies in preparation for the Christmas celebration? Maybe you are even eating the “Christmas Cookies” before Dec. 25? My favorite is the simple iced cut-out sugar cookie. I love the star, the candy cane and the Christmas tree shapes with white icing and lots of red and green sprinkles on top. Oh how sweet and yummy!
And just as we will spread sweet icing over our sugar cookies, so we as the church are called to spread the good news of Christ throughout the world – sharing love and grace. It can happen in many shapes and forms – just like the different cookie cut-outs. Some of us might be Christmas trees while others are star cut-outs. Yet other people in the world might represent that broken cookie – you know, the one that no one wants because it isn’t perfect. But God still calls us to ice them with the sweet good news – to love the unlovable and give hope to the hopeless.
In this Advent season while we bake and ice our cookies, may we think of ways to share the “icing” of the good news in charitable ways toward God and our neighbor. Maybe even take a plate of our homemade cookies to a new or different neighbor – someone not like us – someone not expecting – someone that could use a little love in the name of Christ. And who knows, maybe by the work of the Holy Spirit, through one plate of cookies, the world might seem just a little sweeter to one neighbor, and then another, and another, and so on, and so on – until the entire world tastes the sweetness of the good news of Christ.
The Rev. Scott J. Maxwell (Mercyhurst Class of 1986) serves St Paul’s Lutheran Church as pastor. His favorite Scripture passage is Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”