We are getting closer and closer to the “day of the Lord,” a term which the authors of the Christian Scriptures carried over from the Hebrew Scriptures.
The author of the Second Letter of Peter describes it this way: “What we await are new heavens and a new earth where, according to his promise, the justice of God will reside.”
It is the day of God’s salvation when “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.”
We await the day of the Lord, but it is to be an active waiting. John the Baptist echoes the prophet’s message: “In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!”
“Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” The reading from Peter speaks of our “looking for the coming of the day of God” and of our “trying to hasten it!”
We stand, as it were, in a desert, an empty wasteland of broken lives and discarded people.
The challenge of Advent is to clear a straight path for God: to end injustices, to stop wars and the preparations for wars, to put discrimination behind us, or in the words of the opening prayer, to “remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy.”
The promise of Advent is that “the Lord will come to save all nations.”
Because we believe in the dignity of the person, we must embrace every chance to help and to liberate, to heal the wounded world as Jesus taught us. Our hands must be the strong but gentle hands of Christ, reaching out in mercy and justice, touching individual persons, but also touching the social conditions that hinder the wholeness which is God’s desire for humanity.
U.S. Bishops, Health and Health Care, 1981:13