We light the Shepherds’ Candle on our Advent wreath today. It calls us to JOY, building upon the messages of HOPE and FAITH of the two previous weeks.
The Chaplaincy team responsible for prison visitation in the Castlemaine prisons, all three of them, met on Friday night to share the joys and hopes of their efforts. There were some sadness’s and dashed hopes as well…our prisoners are part of the “lost, lonely and last” in our society. Getting out, which most dream for, is not as difficult as getting back into society; and despite all the good work done inside, outside is so different to inside, especially if you’ve been “in” for many years.
Their Masses are joyful. Singing is wonderful. Lots of genuine instant prayers.
Recently, there was serious illness with one member of the Chaplaincy team. Somehow, word was passed through the ranks of the congregation. Several weeks later, spontaneous clapping and joy erupted when the word was announced of healing and restoration to health of the team member.
Prisoners cannot do much for those outside the walls, but they can pray, and it occurs that we sometimes forget to ask those who are numbered amongst the “lonely, lost and last”, even outside the walls, to pray.
Being asked to do something brought great joy to the men.
Being asked to open his house brought great joy to Zacchaeus.
Being asked to explain, from prison, who he (Jesus) was, gave great joy to John’s disciples, and evident joy to Jesus as he praised the Baptist.
Further, having asked the answer brought great comfort, peace, and joy to John himself. His mission was finished, the proclamation of the Kingdom was in safe hands…
The crowds were joyful when Jesus spoke, healed and cured.
His words gave hope. Their faith was rewarded. They fulfilled Isaiah’s words, “everlasting joy in their faces; joy and gladness will go with them.”
They were asked often to keep the wonderful news to themselves. Happily, joy won out!
We have similar Good News, and an aspect of it is to offer those who seemingly cannot do anything, to be a prayerful person
So, as we light the third candle, think of someone who has never been asked to do this or to give that, and simply say to them, “Please pray for……….and for me”.