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Faith Daily | 8 December 2021

PRAYER of the DAY - Advent Two APBA p466

Merciful God,

who sent your messenger John the Baptist

to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:

give us grace to heed his warning and forsake our sins,

that we may greet with joy the coming of our Redeemer,

Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 18: 12-14

28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by:Jane Markotsis

The gospel reading today talks about God's reward to those who are humble enough to acknowledge their weaknesses and failures. With the anxieties and worries that this world places on our shoulders, Jesus’ invitation to come to him when we are weary and heavily burdened (just as we are) is simple and comforting, especially in these modern times. Jesus’ yoke is his commandment to us to love one another as he loves us, and he makes this easier for us by giving us the strength to carry it.

When I read this passage, I can’t help but think of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, animals, and merchants. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in Christian history and founded the Franciscan orders, including the Poor Clares and the lay Third Order. His famous prayer begins with the words “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”

In this Gospel, Jesus’ words are as gentle and kind as when someone you love lays their hand on you to encourage you, to love you, to lead you gently and lovingly where you should go and to that place where you can flourish. Jesus’ yolk is a kind and pleasant phenomenon. Francis wanted to show people this through his own works and actions.

In this modern world we are suffering from large scale shifts in weather patterns caused by global warming, and we are starting to see the effects of these shifts through warming temperatures and changes in precipitation causing rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, and changes in flower and plant blooming times.

I’m sure you’re all aware that the cause of climate change is us. Humans. The largest driver of warming is the emission of gases that create a greenhouse effect, of which more than 90% are carbon dioxide and methane. Fossil fuel burning for energy consumption is the main source of these emissions, with additional contributions from agriculture, deforestation, and the chemical reactions in certain manufacturing processes. What would St Francis say? Did you know that some people consider Francis as the original Earth Day advocate?

His love for nature undoubtably equalled his love for humans as is evident through his work with the poor, sick and suffering. Just like Jesus, I truly believe Francis had us ‘modern-day Christians’ in mind in all that he did and spoke. Our Gospel speaks to us about loving one another, easing burdens, and learning from Jesus. Saint Francis walked in Jesus’ footsteps by practicing love, easing the pain and suffering of other people, and teaching the ways and words of Jesus.

FINAL PRAYER: Prayer of St Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.


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