A former leader of the IBM Executive School once commented, ‘A worthwhile mission properly articulated galvanises ordinary people with extraordinary even explosive results’. Yesterday, the new working documents – Lineamenta – for the Ordinary Synod of Bishops scheduled for October 2015 were issued. As usual, it’s not exactly bedtime reading, but it – and all the commentary that will ensue from it – will undoubtedly occupy a lot of time and attention of many folk.
So why do I open this week’s Friday FAST with an insight from someone totally unconnected with Catholicism? Well, because I believe that as we approach this Third Sunday of Advent – traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday – joyfully anticipating the Christmas festival – there is no better way to remind ourselves of how well God the Father chose to articulate his mission to redeem humanity than by allowing His Son to become a vulnerable, precious unborn and newborn baby.
One Third Sunday of Advent tradition which has been popular in Italy for many years and now is spreading across the world is called ‘Bambinelli Sunday’. Families are invited to bring their own small figure of the Infant baby Jesus from their family crib to be blessed during the Sunday Mass. In this way, the children, parents and grandparents are able to focus on what the Advent preparations should be about – which is on the very day which marks our expectation and rejoicing of the Birth of Our Lord.
So I would encourage all of us to bring the figure of the Infant Christ from our cribs to Mass with us this Sunday and even if it’s not a tradition in our country – let’s ask the priest after Mass to bless the figure to add a new dimension to the Spirit of Christ entering our homes and hearts in the final days of Advent. This is something that grandparents might encourage their grandchildren to do too! Who knows, like the man from IBM said, our little gesture could even have ‘explosive’ results spiritually for us, way ahead of what next year’s synod might have by 2016!
– Edmund Adamus
Director, Office of Marriage and Family Life – Diocese of Westminster