Advent calendar reflection for 14 December

Young woman beside river

Dana, who is part of the group 'Young Guardians of the Atrato River' in Colombia.

“Which of the two did the father’s will?” 

Matthew 21:31

In today’s gospel we hear of two sons who are both asked to help their father. One says yes, the other no, but they both change their minds. The gospel reminds us that words can be meaningless. If we don’t follow up with action, our promises are empty. Jesus is inviting us to consider whether our words and actions match up. It is easy to talk, but much harder to give our attention, time and effort. 

The Atrato river flows through Colombia’s Pacific rainforest, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The river is a source of life for many indigenous, Afro Colombian and other rural communities but has suffered the effects of illegal mining, logging and armed conflict. 

CAFOD’s partner Father Sterlin, a Colombian parish priest, helped gather a group of Young Guardians of the river. These young people put their faith into action by cleaning the Doña Josefa ravine, which flows into the Atrato River. They collected rubbish, organised sport and leisure activities and raised awareness.  

15 year old Heylis, said: “I have a message for the people of the UK and I want you all to listen to me. Look after the environment, look after what you have and make good use of what God gave us. As a Guardian of the Atrato river, I know I'm doing that.” 

Let’s think today about how we can make sure we truly live out our faith this Advent 

Advent prayer

God of love,
during this period of waiting,
inspire us to put our faith into action.


Help care for your local environment by picking up some rubbish when you’re out and about, or join a local litter-picking group. 

Pray for those who protect God’s creation.


Back to top