“During Advent opportunities for works of charity abound calling out for Christians from every side: a sack of food for a needy family, money dropped in a Salvation Army kettle, a donation to an Indian school, a toy for ‘Toys-for-Tots,’ etc. Unfortunately, these works of charity so easily can assuage the Christian conscience, while doing nothing to being about a solution to the root causes of the problem. Works of justice, on he other hand, follow the road less traveled of Advent’s hope to pursue solutions for difficult problems. Hope comes through works of justice rather than simply performing works of charity.”
~ Fr. Brian Cavanaugh, TOR
Nobody ever said that being a Christian was easy. If it were, the entire world would be Christian. No. Being a Christian is incredibly difficult work. It involves a huge amount of our time and our very selves.
Some people are under the delusion that they can “buy” their way into their Christianity. If they purchase enough things, they will not feel as guilty. So, they make donations to all sorts of charitable causes, spending money quite easily. While those kinds of works are necessary, they are not the heart of the matter.
Jesus calls us to change our hearts, not our pocketbooks.
Do not give less. Charitable causes are still important. However, give more. Give of your time and your talent, your sweat and your blood, to things that truly matter. Instead of donating to a food pantry, volunteer your time to cook and/or serve in a soup kitchen. Rather than giving a few items to help the homeless, donate some time working at a homeless shelter. Visit the sick and the shut in, find out if there are volunteer groups going in to the jails and prisons and become a part of a group. Do some of the things that will directly help someone else. In doing so, you will be helping yourself as well.
It is tough to live as Jesus did; but, when we do, we find ourselves becoming changed, becoming more like Jesus. And that, after all, is what the Lord truly desires.
FAITH ACTION: Check into the possibility of doing some volunteer work at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Or, visit a nursing home during the Advent season and bring some Christmas joy to a resident who may have been forgotten by his or her own family.