Friday, December 22, 2023
God is here among us, reminding us that we are anointed to do this work
O Come, O Come Emmanuel and end this gloom of night
Bring hope to the world
Bring peace to the Earth
And fill us with love's pure light.
Will hope and peace come to inhabit our world once again? Will we be able to, as my community's constitution states, "embrace the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of our sisters and brothers in the human family"? I am convinced that this is what the Advent season calls us to.
Advent — the season of living in the nitty-gritty of life as we prepare for the Incarnation — invites us to spend time in searching and waiting for. In the midst of that, we find reasons to rejoice, reflecting on our role as midwives of hope and peace and, yes, even joy.
This is what we are reminded of in the first reading for Isaiah, where we are told that the spirit of the Lord is upon us because God has anointed us to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim freedom.
Isaiah reminds us that we do not need to get stuck in the waiting for the Messiah to come. God is here among us, reminding us day in and day out that we are anointed to do this work. That, my friends, is reason enough to rejoice, even when the grief, heartache and struggle seem overwhelming.
As the song suggests, where do I see this pure light, or where do I find reason to rejoice?
God is here among us, reminding us day in and day out that we are anointed to do this work.
For me, I witness it in my colleagues at Network (Nuns on the Bus) and in our faith-filled justice seekers across the country who continually push for policies like the Expanded Child Tax Credit, ensure that WIC is available for all mothers and children who need the support of the program, and work to shed light on racist policies like the CBP One App. Their dedication to ensuring that all people have what they need to thrive lifts the gloom of night — even if just for a little bit of time.
Like Mary, my spirit rejoices in this world that God created — in spending time with friends and community members, sharing a meal, celebrating a new baby and laughing. It is also in this continual hope for lasting peace in the world that we rely on one another to bring glad tidings, heal the broken hearted, and give release to prisoners. It is only then that "love's pure light" will "make justice and praise spring up before all the nations."
This weekend, I challenge all of us to find joy and hope amidst the darkness.
Reflection by Eilis McCulloh, a Sister of the Humility of Mary. She currently serves as the Grassroots Education and Organizing Specialist at NETWORK Lobby and is a student at The University of Akron School of Law. She has extensively ministered alongside the refugee and immigrant communities