Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Prayer Blogging - 2nd week of Advent edition

Today's Friday Prayer Blogging advent reflection is from the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development.

Discerning righteousness

Please read: Isaiah 48:17-19; Psalm 1:1-4,6; Matthew 11:16-19

There are passages in many of the psalms, which seek to encourage those who may be giving up on following God’s law and path. The psalms, full of protest and praise, questions and answers, express the frustration that sometimes it is the wicked who seem to prosper and the good who suffer derision. Yet the challenge remains that it is only by observing and living out the commandments of God that true happiness will be found.

The term “do-gooder” is a scornful remark that has been leveled by some people at anyone who is seen to help others. Charities and those who collect for them have at times been the recipients of abuse and mockery from neighbours and politicians alike. “Charity begins at home” is the slogan offered when no giving is proffered, and many are quickly tempted to join in the advice and scoffing, which can so often be the ingredients of debates about aid to developing countries.

During this season of about God's amazing gift, however, it seems that charities, their spokespeople and supporters have been given more coverage and authority. It is the powerful and the selfish who are having to justify themselves rather than those who speak for the poor or who let the poor speak for themselves. Yet we are all liable to blind spots and can be persuaded by wayward paths and wrong advice. It is also easy to mock anything we do not fully understand rather than take the time to listen. In our complex world of conflicting interests and ways forward, discernment is a task we all need help with to ensure we take the path of justice and love.

Let us pray.
Dear Jesus,
Give us minds unafraid to discern
Set our feet upon wisdom’s path
Loosen our tongues with words of hope
For righteousness’ sake.

Like always, please add additional prayers or praises in the margins