This tone is a major shift from the story many of us tell ourselves as we begin the journey of recovery. In our battle with various addictions, compulsions, and unhealthy attachments, we came to know spiritual poverty. As the cycle of addiction unfolds, the solution to our problems becomes the problem, and our anxiety, mistrust, and isolation build. We got discouraged as we began hiding some of our true needs from ourselves and others, often leaving us resentful and afraid.
By the grace of God, we’ve been uprooted and given another chance. We begin to experience the peace of Christ and the freedom that accompanies 12-step recovery. This is very good news as we await the coming of our Lord with patient trust. This Sunday’s Second Reading guides our efforts to endure whatever we may face:
Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters,
about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Upon being awoken to the good news, it is natural for us to ask the same question the crowds of people ask John the Baptist in this Sunday’s Gospel Reading—what should we do? Showing kindness to all and allowing God to do His will in us, with us, and through us is a good start. Setting aside self-centered expectations provides an opportunity for God to make all things new.
The Gospel of Luke tells us a bit more about John the Baptist:
Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Surrender does not always come naturally, but if we exercise the first three steps of recovery through the lens of our baptism, we might experience it happen supernaturally. We can cooperate with this transformation process by diving further into the Twelve Steps—making a thorough moral inventory of ourselves, sharing it with God and others, asking God to remove defects of character that stand in the way of our usefulness to Him and others, and making amends. Along the way, we get to know peace, joy, and freedom thanks to the saving grace of God.
- What thoughts of gratitude come to mind as you consider your recovery journey and preparation for Christmas?
- How can you relate to the cycle of addiction and the unfolding of anxiety, mistrust, and isolation?
- How have you experienced being happy, joyous, and free as a result of working a program of recovery?
Sunday Mass Readings
First Reading: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
Second Reading: James 5:7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11