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Thorny roses in the Light

A man came. His name was John. He came to bear witness to the Light. A popular and humble man among ordinary people, proclaiming a cryptic message, pointing to the fullness of meaning for all our lives.

But, the reality of our everyday lives, tainted and saddened by the seemingly rampant evil—systemic and individual, is captured unapologetically in the media, amplified by the pervasive ‘social’ construct of the digital world.

Among us today are ‘Johns’ who invite us to joy and hope, even in the midst of desolation and grief, voices crying in the wilderness, standing up to the doubt and distressing situations in our communities.

Many persons experience deep grief and confusion, trying to discern ‘wha really happening in sweet T&T’. Government officials, caregivers and families alike are struggling with issues of principle, self-protection, and preservation.

The innate call to compassion, especially to the most vulnerable, is juxtaposed against legalities, compliance clauses and interpretive views on international agreements.

Witness the sensitivities in managing the refugees and migrants’ situations. Increased awareness, legislative provisions and the interrogation of certain cultural values and religious practices are resulting in the willingness of community and State control actors to cull incidents of child abuse and domestic violence.

Yet still, some gatekeepers continue to “despise the gift of prophecy with contempt” (1Thess 5:20); pharisaic policy positions continue to challenge the quest for what is good.

Yet, today and every day, we are drawn to respond positively to the declaration of the One who may still be ‘hidden’ to some because of their refusal to see the Light and their desire to maintain control.

Fragile as that is, on this third Sunday of Advent, we light the rose-pink candle of Joy. Simple, sweet, and loaded with meaning for every aspect of our lives. A ‘rosy’ view, some may say.

Roses do have thorns! Despite the satiny texture of sweet and diplomatic rhetoric and the allure of intriguing scents, common sense and community sensibilities are being assaulted daily!

However, cultural misapprehensions are neutralised by the prophet’s missionary action, carrying the Light, to bring good news to the afflicted, soothe the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to persons in their prisons of mind, heart or bodies, and comfort to all who mourn.

Let’s pay attention and act on the exhortation of the Johns, Isaiahs, Lukes, Elijahs in our communal, emotional, legislative, and family-bonding spaces. We’re exhorted to exult for joy in God, assured of saving justice, love and the truth that even in seeming desolation, there is God’s promise and real presence in the mix. Believe! God’s got this!

Renewal and refreshment are available to all who lift their heads, smell the roses and as St Paul urges in Thessalonians 5:16–24, live as to carefully manage movement between the thorns, shunning everything that is evil, all this acknowledging in our own prophetic mission that we live and thrive only in the True Light.

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