December 5, 2023

Read Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13.

The Psalmist writes, “let me hear what the Lord God says.” God speaks in many ways, through many voices. According to Luke’s Gospel, after Jesus’s birth, it is the shepherds – a lowly profession in biblical times – who go forth, spreading the news of Christ’s birth (2:17-18).

In August, I moved across the country to Portland, Oregon to begin a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. Walking around Portland – widely known for a large population of people experiencing homelessness – it can be easy to try and ignore the people I pass on the side of the street, instead focusing on where I’m going or who I’m with. It can be easy to want to avoid these people, to give them as much space as possible, or to hurry past. What is much harder to remember when seeing people sitting by their tent on the side of the road, or standing near a highway with an “anything helps” sign, is that they’re children of God, too, created in God’s image.

The author of Genesis writes, “in the divine image God created [humanity]” (1:27), which includes people who are poor, food insecure, experiencing homelessness, or otherwise on the margins of society. Just like the shepherds, sometimes the people society has pushed to the side have an important message to share, and it is up to us whether we choose to listen or not.


God, help us hear your voice, wherever it may come from. Help us listen to what you have to say, no matter how you choose to say it. Help us take action when you speak, even when we don’t want to. Amen.

Andrew Pinches Jesuit Volunteer, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest Alum, UKirk at Michigan State