At the beginning of the Advent season, we return once again to a season of waiting for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. These days it feels like we are waiting for so much—an end to war in areas of armed conflict, substantial action to address the climate crisis, gun control laws to protect the innocent, especially our children. The prophet Isaiah says in today’s reading, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down…” We long for God’s intervention into these seemingly intractable injustices in our world.The problem of public safety in the Bay Area has become a glaring issue. People wonder what it will take for the robberies, assaults, and homicides to stop. I recently attended a Friday night walk through the Ceasefire program in Oakland, which aims to involve community members in city-wide efforts to reduce the number of shootings and homicides. As we gathered to pray and march together, we found a way to take action in hope for a more peaceful community. Some of those who gathered shared their own stories of having lost loved ones to gun violence. Many of us experienced healing through walking together in hope and solidarity.
Today’s readings can be an invitation to contemplate our own role in the problems we are facing, how we have been affected, and how we are called to respond. How have we played a role in, or experienced, the root causes of poverty and racism in our society? How is God calling us to respond? Our waiting is not one of passively accepting the status quo until things get better. We are called to wait in hope and to act with justice until the coming of the Prince of Peace.
Jack McLinden, S.J., is a Midwest Jesuit in formation currently studying at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. Jack is an intern with Faith in Action East Bay and a ThM student at the Institute for Black Catholic Studies in New Orleans.