2nd Sunday of Advent, December 10th, 2017

This past week, I read an interview in the Seattle Times and with Khizr Kahn who has published a book called, “An American Family”.  Kahn was suddenly pushed into the national spotlight during the Democratic Convention, August 2016.  With his wife at his side, he spoke to the delegates gathered and as a response to the suggestion Muslims be banned from entering our country.  A U.S. citizen whose son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Kahn, was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber in 2004, Khizr  has relatives in the Middle East and fears this ban a reaction to understandable, yet irrational, fears.  He urged those who supported the ban to read the U.S. Constitution as a way of arriving at a clearer understanding of the founding principles upon which this nation was built and in light of the current immigration issue.  Khizr, alongside his wife, took a stand on that stage and as he felt concern for their own peace and safety.  Willingly, they entered the ‘flow’.

More recently, they took a stand in Charlottesville, too, and following the “Unite the Right” Rally with its aftermath of death and violence.  Khan said, “We wanted to show our children that that was not America at all.  That display of hate and division was not America at all.

He ended the interview by quoting the Sufi poet and mystic Rumi:  “So what if you are thirsty?  Always be a river for everyone.”

In the gospel this 2nd Sunday in Advent (Mark 1:1-8), John, the Advent prophet, makes his appearance in the wilderness and as he begins to baptize the flow of people gathered at the Jordan River and as they acknowledge their sins in those waters.  John’s described as “A voice of one crying in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths’”.   By the Jordan River that empties into the Dead Sea, John takes a stand; a stand that, eventually, will cost him his head and as he speaks truth to power. 

People from Jerusalem and the whole Judean countryside go out to him and as he awakens within them a thirst inside us all.  They, too, take a stand alongside John there in the river.  Washed cleaned by the currents of grace, their lives begin to flow with hope.  In a real sense, they become a river for everyone.  Such hope prepares them for the flow of living water Jesus promises and that wells up within all who  take Jesus’ vision to heart;  becoming a river for everyone and within this world that thirsts for meaning.

Simply, the Christian life is about taking such a stand we see in the likes of John the Baptist and Khizr Kahn.  It is a way of life calling us to become “a river for everyone” and within a world caught in the sin of division and hate.  It is within the flow of such hope that we learn to see that “All of us swim in the same sea”.  (Sr. Francine Barber, O.P.)

Father Tim Clark, Pastor


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