Reflection for Monday, December 6, 1999: 2nd week in Advent.

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Spanbauer, Lori
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Since my return almost two weeks ago from visiting El Salvador, I am struck almost daily by how very blessed I am and so many of us are. We have homes- very comfortable homes with heaters, and many times, air conditioning. We have cars, and not just cars, but cars with heaters and many times air conditioning. Most of us rarely go hungry, in fact I just read another article lamenting the fact that most North Americans have a huge daily caloric surplus. We seldom go thirsty for more than an hour or two until we can find the next gas station or drive-through.||The readings today strike me in how they describe a deep yearning, a deep thirst, and that deep yearning being satisfied. I try to imagine being that hungry, that thirsty, that needy. As a North American, I know little of what it is like to really need anything. I may want many things, and may not even get some of them, but I never have experienced the kind of need and thirst that is described in the readings. In El Salvador I was asking questions of one of our hosts, John Guiliano, about the water there. I wanted to know how sick it makes people who are not used to it, how long before a non-native would acclimate and no longer become ill from drinking it, etc. Finally, maybe out of frustration in having to answer all of my questions, he said, "When I first came here I was sick all of the time. That was part of it. During the war, we drank whatever we could find to drink and didn't ask questions." I realized the physical thirst that was experienced by the El Salvadorans during the war- sometimes they couldn't even get water. Imagine what it would have been like for them to wake up one morning during the war and find the thirsty ground had become a spring of water. Imagine waking up and finding that your war-torn land had suddenly begun to blossom abundantly. Imagine waking up after years of being afraid for your life and the lives of your family members and having someone say, "Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance ... He will come and save you." The El Salvadorans and millions of others in our world understand these readings and can imagine the words to be, indeed, Good News.|The truth is, I cannot imagine any of it. I cannot fully grasp the Good News of it because I have never been poor, I have never been through war in my land, and I have never been unable, as an adult, to walk. I believe it is hard for me to really get a hold of my need for God. We North Americans are so well cared for that we have come to be pretty independent in our lives and not need much. It is difficult for me, then, to understand the deep need for anything, including God. I pray that my North Americanism is not a hindrance to my believing I have a need for God, because I do need God. I need to be forgiven and I need for my eyes and heart to be opened. I need to be ransomed. I hope I can be. I hope I can allow room for need and desire and yearning so that these readings and the readings on Christmas morning will truly be the sweetest sound on earth- the Good News.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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