“Comfort, O comfort my people” words so familiar to us, particularly if we listen to Handel’s Messiah and so appropriate at a time when there is so much violence. Every day we hear how many people have been killed, robbed, molested, are hungry and desperate. As we continue to read Isaiah we hear many other admonitions but the first is “comfort.” And then the prophet goes on to tell us to “cry out”. That’s an easy one we say, after all there is much to cry out about.
Not so, for what we are to cry out about is not about us but about others, the people who are oppressed and feel alone and are afraid to speak out for fear of deportation or ridicule. “Comfort O Comfort my people” then takes on even more meaning for you and me who need to speak up for those who cannot. It is up to us then to spread “the good news.” Talk about Advent to friends\and neighbors, explain what Advent is about. It is a period of preparation of making sure that you too will be ready to receive and give birth to Jesus, who changed the world then and now It is a period of preparation as well as a period of waiting for the big day, we call Christmas.
As we go to the gospel, we hear John proclaim to the people what is to come. He promises that what will happen is beyond any expectation and will be greater than anything that ever happened before. Notice though that what he promises will be in the future and he does not give a specific time and place. Last week’s gospel spoke about this and cautioned us to be alert and be ready. It means that our waiting is not passive but active.
In other words, this kind of waiting is not the kind that makes no sense but rather it is the kind of waiting where we have time to digest and get ready. What we will do with the promise of what is to come is always up to us. We can just be comfortable and do the usual or decide that God’s promise to the world is about action and participation.
You are always with us at the beginning when life stirs and at the end.
Free us from fretting that we will make mistakes while waiting for your son’s birth.
Free us from our fear that somehow we will not do it right and help us to give birth to new beginnings.