2nd Sunday of Advent - Comfort My People

We listen, and wonder and pray while we get caught up in the flurry of activities that accompany our preparation for the Christmas holiday. Scriptures remind us that Advent can be an important time to pause, reflect and rest in the Lord . Throughout the season, we hear words of promise and of exhortation. What Isaiah saw in prophetic vision we have learned from history. He described what the person and mission of the Messiah would be like. And we know from apostolic witness how perfectly Jesus fulfilled that vision and promise.

But the coming of the Messiah is an ongoing mystery. He needs us and uses us to "make straight His paths." Like John the Baptist, we are called to hasten His coming in our own time and place, continuing to "prepare the way of the Lord."

Perhaps we still walk the crooked way. We take detours around the challenges of Christian justice. There are hills of conflict and valleys of depression on the road we walk. But there is something that we need to remember. It is the face of Jesus we see when we look at the poor, the sick and the homeless. It is the face of Jesus we see in courage and selflessness of health-care workers and first responders. It is face of Jesus we see when confronted with troubles, suffering and failure.

We see His beauty and power in all good things. We sense His crucified presence when touched by pain and sorrow. We are energized by the power of His resurrected presence when we are buried by weakness, defeat, or death in any form.  Life is beautiful, but it is a struggle.

The voice of God echoes in the words of Isaiah: "Comfort, comfort to my people. Fear not! Cry out: Here is your God! Like a shepherd he feeds his flock."   If there was ever a moment in our lives for the need of comfort, now is that moment. 

The Christmas message of peace and justice, of love and joy cannot be mere empty words written on a card or sung in a carol. We must make these words real, tangible, visible in our actions, in our concern, in our sharing and giving and in our stewardship of Christ's Gospel.

Advent reminds us of our mission:

Advent is not just a season of the year but a way of life for those who wait in happy expectation of the day when "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed." We already know the One who is returning. We remember his first coming with rejoicing. - Sister Genevieve Glen, OSB

While Advent calls us to wait with eager expectation for the coming of Christ, there is a another waiting. The paradox is that the One for whom we are waiting is likewise waiting for us.  It is in and through us that Christ enters our world today.  For Isaiah, we are the ones who need comfort. But we are called by the One we are expecting to give comfort to others. He waits on us to do that and empowers us with His Spirit so we can.

"Comfort, give comfort to my people!"

Graphic - Michelangelo: The Prophet Isaiah