Scripture Focus: Habakkuk 2.6-8, 18-20
6 “ ‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
How long must this go on?’
7 Will not your creditors suddenly arise?
Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
Then you will become their prey.
8 Because you have plundered many nations,
the peoples who are left will plunder you.
For you have shed human blood;
you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.”
20 The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.
Reflection: He Became Poor — Love of Advent
By John and Melissa Tillman
Dissatisfaction that leads to debt…
Looking to wealth for security…
The themes of Habakkuk 2 sound like a godless, joyless, commercialized Christmas. We can get trapped in the trappings of Christmas. Their shine and glimmer can become idols to our own desires.
The idols of our modern age are not that different from those of any other age. Instead of worshiping the true God, in whom we live and move and have our being, we make for ourselves idols to our liking. Our culture worships a nameless pull, a desire for more, a never ending hunger.
Habakkuk describes a hunger like the grave.
The prophets all connect the accumulation of unjust wealth with bloodshed of the poor.
Whether this is intended to be literal or metaphorical, it shows that God acknowledges that part of the wealth of the elite comes from the life’s blood of the poor. In addition, the reasons God gives for his just acts of judgment against Israel and Judah include idolatry and moral failures, but also always include offenses related to oppression of the poor.
Another sign of God’s deep love for the poor is that Jesus entered the world through the womb of a poor girl to become a part of a poor family. He even chose to live the last few years of his life as a poor, homeless man.
Jesus comes to proclaim good news to the poor as one of the poor.
His love extends to all of us in every form of our poverty.
Our poverty of wealth…
Or our poverty of compassion…
Our poverty of family…
Or our poverty of care…
Our poverty of justice…
Or our poverty of grace…
Whether our poverty is of physical things or spiritual things, Christ proclaims to our impoverished hearts his good news. He became poor so that we might, through his poverty, become rich. (2 Corinthians 8.9)
His love will fill us with good things. (Luke 1.53)
His love will perfect us into the image of himself.
His love, if we let it, will make us shine like stars that proclaim the goodness of God in a dark world. (Philippians 2.15)
Divine Hours Prayer: The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle
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Lord, as the world grows darker, the hope we have in Christ, burns brighter.