There is an atmosphere in two of today's readings that Catholic blogger Todd Flowerday calls "an interlude of mercy" (catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/reconciliation-lectionary-wisdom). The phrase well captures a sense of God's patience with us sinners as we figure out how to respond to love.
During the months of upheaval following the killing of Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, protesters described their standoff with the authorities by chanting, "This is what democracy looks like!" Clergy and religious leaders added, "This is what theology looks like," as they marched or held street-side sit-downs.
In a cold and fallow season of waiting, watching and wondering, it is not surprising to find ourselves reflecting on the past and looking toward the future, taking stock and hoping for something better to come. Advent is the season of promise par excellence. We willingly wait. We anticipate the birth of Jesus and all that symbolizes for us, and we do so in the light of promises extending back to the Hebrew Scriptures and beyond.
During my 67 years' worth of life lessons, I've been told more than once that three is not a good number for relationships. Don't date in threes, don't live in threes, and don't jointly own anything in threes. One person always gets left out; another tries to take over. Then there is the person in the middle. Threes are a disaster when it comes to relationships.