Third Sunday of Advent

December 12, 2021

A reflection by Sister Margaret Meaney, OSB on the scripture readings: Zephaniah 3:14-18A; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18

In some parts of northern India, at the grass roots economic level, chaff is dearer than grain. I won’t bore you with the breakdown of the cost of growing wheat in India, but as the saying goes “it may be worthless, but in chaff (bhus) lies all the profit.”

Consider the nature of chaff- it is the coat of the grain of wheat. Chaff is the protective casing for the seed.

Chaff can be used as fertilizer for the field where it is grown, feeding   soil organisms. Chaff can be used for composting.

Humans cannot digest chaff, but chaff can be used to feed cattle.

Chaff is useful as biofuel.

How does this relate to the gospel?

I see chaff as the false self; the ego, the insular self, blinkered and limited, camouflage we wear unknowingly.

The false self is useful in its own time, but with an endpoint. At that endpoint the false self ceases to be useful or helpful.

What should we do?

Share what we have with the person who has none; love, compassion, vision, perspective, time. Share our authenticity.

According to Richard Rohr, if people grow, the various false selves die in exposure to greater light. Our blinkered limits drop away, our camouflage dissolves.

I don’t see an unquenchable punitive fire, I see the unquenchable, illuminating fire of Jesus’ love. “He will rejoice over you and renew you in his love”.

 What should we do?

We are to return to our true nature, the nature God gave us.

Thomas Merton said it well “We are to become what we already are.”


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