Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Advent 24 : The Shepherds

The kingdom of heaven comes close to the shepherds, and by repenting – by changing their mind – they step into the present presence of God’s future.

Shepherds not only lived on the margins of society, out on the hills on the edge of towns; they were considered to represent the margins of society. They were marginalised by society. They were mistrusted, misrepresented. Like youth in our society today, they were considered to be up to no good, lazy, antisocial. You certainly wouldn’t believe a word that they said – especially if their excuse for being in town when they were supposed to be with their flock was that an angel had appeared to them with news of great joy...

But God knows what it is to be marginalised by his people. And, as Mary sung, God “...has shown strength with his arm and has scattered the proud in their conceit, casting down the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:51-53). This moment, this moment when the marginalised are invited as guests-of-honour into the very centre, is a moment that God can step into in order to bring light into the world.

The shepherds repent, and step forward into the unknown with God.

[Today’s Antiphon is O Rex Gentium]

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