Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Once In Royal David's City"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 25:34b-35 – Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. (NRSV)
A year ago, early in Advent, on December 3, 2020, I took part in a Zoom dialogue with our Prime Minister and 400 faith leaders from across Canada.
"I have been proud of our fellow Canadians to make it through this pandemic, but we have seen countless examples of stepping up, helping out, and contributing to their communities," said the Prime Minister. "The measures each of you has put in place to keep your communities safe have been very important. You have also been very strong in continuing a message that is not unfamiliar to you — the encouraging of people who are tired and frustrated by what life is throwing at them to stay the course, think of the long term, and doing good towards others. To make sacrifices and hang in there and keep doing the right thing."
Many words were spoken about the place and importance of faith communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. One word spoken among the many words shared was "kindfulness". This one word was offered as our best response to the needs of others amid the anxiety and stress coming from the disruptions in people's lives and relationships. Kindfulness simply invites us to open our hearts and to be aware of the needs of others.
So many of Jesus' stories and sayings are expressions of kindfulness. Listen to His deep teaching in today's verses taken from the passage in Matthew 25:31-46. See clearly what is happening in the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. What is crucial in both is the awareness of the need around us and responding to it in the most appropriate way open to us. As we respond to our circumstances and situations, we, too, will hear the joy in Jesus' voice as He says, "Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40b NRSV) We, too, can be agents of mercy, as Jesus tells us, "Go and do likewise." (Luke 10:37b NRSV)
A year has gone by since that dialogue with the Prime Minister, and the need for kindfulness has only grown. My invitation to you is the same as the one given to me: practice kindfulness. As you begin your day, ask to be an agent, an instrument, of God's love and mercy and peace.
As we walk through the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy, and love this year, I encourage us all to also remember "kindfulness" as a fitting response to the grace of God in our lives.
Prayer: May the Christ, Who walks on wounded feet, walk with us on the road. May the Christ, Who serves with wounded hands, stretch out our hands to serve. May the Christ, Who loves with a wounded heart, open our hearts to love. May we see the face of Christ in everyone we meet, and may everyone we meet see the face of Christ in us. Amen.