Advent calendar prayer and reflection for 15 December

Refugees prepare food in Uganda

Refugees prepare food in Bidi Bidi, Uganda (Tommy Trenchard/Caritas Internationalis)

We played the pipes for you and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges and you wouldn’t be mourners.

Matthew 11:16–19

Jesus sounds slightly exasperated in this gospel passage. What does he need to do for people to hear his message?

The people would not listen to John the Baptist because he fasted and lived in the wilderness. They would not listen to Jesus, because he ate and drank with all types of people, including tax collectors and prostitutes. Neither John nor Jesus was what people expected of a prophet or the Son of God.

In the end, Jesus exclaims, “Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.” It is not the words that Jesus spoke that were the most important thing, but rather the way he behaved. His actions showed us all that we need to know about the way that we, as his followers, should live our lives. 

We are called to sit down with those on the edges of society and share food together. We are called to be close to them, to spend time with them and get to know them. We are called to treat others as we would wish to be treated and to love one another in all that we do.

And in this way, perhaps others will be moved to follow our example. Perhaps they will become persuaded of God’s message of welcome, love and respect that we would wish to share. Rather than using words to convince someone of our point of view, our actions could be enough.

Advent prayer

Christ Jesus, you show us how we should live. Inspire us to follow in your ways so that we might catch a glimpse of your kingdom here on earth. Amen.


Your actions are powerful. Please sign our petition to the Prime Minister, asking Britain to protect the dignity of refugees. 

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