Advent Conspiracy – Can Christians Still Change the World?

Advent,
it’s Advent again,
may it always be Advent,
may time only be Advent.
– Pedro Casaldáliga

The Claretian Missionaries of Argentina have made available to the Universal Church a series of 24 daily Advent Reflections, (December 1- 24) that focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG 12) – encouraging responsible production and consumption:

SDG 12 has eight specific targets such as SDG 12.1: 

“Implement the 10 – year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries.”

Black Friday

This is particularly relevant to Christians whose faith demands expressions of solidarity with the Earth’s poorest and most vulnerable people. The question we are faced with is whether Christians can still change the world? More importantly, are we capable of changing ourselves as a sign of contradiction and as a sign of local and global missionary witness? How might we be, as Pedro Casaldáliga suggests, Advent advocates beyond the holy season?

Last Friday many countries in the world observed a growing phenomenon of unbridled consumerism branded as BLACK FRIDAY. The concept originated in the United States of America, the Friday after Thanksgiving, signaling the start of the Christmas ‘commercial’ Season. It is a day, now extending to a week, of pre-Christmas sales by retailers and on-line stores. 

This year, the Franciscan community in Assisi gathered before the Monastery of St. Francis of Assisi to protest the spread of Black Friday across the world. They emphasised the holy simplicity of their founder, St. Francis, and also challenged the vacuous promises of consumerism which fail to satisfy the yearnings of the human spirit.

The Franciscan friars also wished to draw attention to the unfair distribution of resources across the globe where such consumerism is robbing the poor of dignity and destroying life on earth. Currently, human beings, primarily in the so-called Developed World, are consuming quantities of the earth’s finite resources beyond which the earth can sustainably replenish. Unchecked, we are, literally, robbing our children of their future for the Earth’s natural systems will, in the near future, collapse.

Last year, SMA Wilton Parish Church, Cork, which is located beside a major shopping centre, decided to open its doors as a place of prayer and quiet for visitors, and as a sign of contradiction to the false consumerism of Black Friday. You may read about the Wilton Parish initiative by clicking here.

The Claretian Missionaries Advent Reflections are, therefore, very relevant and we encourage our readers to consider visiting the website below. Each Day readers are offered a reflection on the specific targets of SDG 12, followed by a relevant biblical quotation and a prayer. The Reflection, biblical reading and prayer for December 1st follow:

Reflection

The SDG 12.1 target begins by mentioning a document that may be unknown to many of us and is called the Ten-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns. This framework is an action platform related to sustainable consumption and production that seeks to allow countries, in a coordinated way, to partner with other key agents and implement cooperation strategies at national, regional and global levels. It also establishes dialogue and/or interrelations for a better distribution of resources and more responsible consumption. Perhaps at first glance we see this as a very technical objective and distant from us, but in reality it is key when it comes to moving forward as a country, seeking equity among all the countries in the world. Lectura de la primera carta del apóstol san Pablo a los Tesalonicenses (3,12–4,2)

 

Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3: 12- 4: 2

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen. Finally, brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God– and as you are conducting yourselves– you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Prayer

Advent,
it’s Advent again,
may it always be Advent,
may time only be Advent.
– Pedro Casaldáliga

You may access all 24 reflections, December 1-24, by clicking here.