Confrontations and discouraging instances are no surprise for Jesus. He faced many such encounters. In the time of the gospels, the Pharisees would revel in the chance to point out the ways that others were wrong, unworthy, or not ‘measuring up.’ But notice that Jesus never joins in with that approach, rather He dismisses the Pharisees for it and instead, loves the ones who have been beaten down by life. Rather than condemn and criticize, how can we encourage and build one another up? We should recognize when we might have “Pharisee” moments when our approach might be harsh or without understanding. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” (A quote from Fr. John’s mentor). These unseen battles are very real, whether they are battles of guilt, shame, neglect, abandonment, fear or woundedness. We share in some of these battles whether or not we are aware. And so coming to mass, the welcome and receiving of one another in love can bring about the encouragement and affirmation that we all need in the unity of Christ’s love for us. During this advent, let us focus on kindness in all of the ways it can bless our lives.
December 8, 2019