Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Comfort My People

December 7, 2010
Memorial of St. Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church

By Beth DeCristofaro

Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; 
Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 40:1-5)

Jesus said to his disciples, "In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost." (Matthew 18:14)

St Ambrose and Father Isaiah, you sought to know and be faithful to the will of God in your lives and to share God’s word with others. Help me to grasp ever more firmly the love of God in my life and to follow God’s will before my own. Help me to reach out and welcome others to God. Help me renounce sin in my life so that I might be brought home from exile to joyfully join at the crib of my Savior.

The days of Isaiah are marked by the time in which the Chosen people were split up – some as captives in exile while others remained oppressed and starving in their promised land. But God promises comfort and reunion. Here in Fairfax, VA, I do not at all experience such misery but having just read the morning paper it is obvious how much exile and oppression remains in the world.

The Chosen People longed to return to their homeland as free people. All over the world there is struggle for freedom and struggle against oppression. Our Advent journey, although a special time to draw closer to God in our own spiritual lives, is also a time to draw people with us closer to God and closer to freedom.

Perhaps as we prepare our own hearts for the coming of Christ we can make straight a highway for others to follow. We might fill the valleys of the needs of others and level the hills of obstacles. As we do, we will find ourselves leveling out our own internal impediments to the movement of God within our own lives. “Give comfort to my people” says the Lord. God does not want to lose one – not you, not me, not anyone who belongs to God.

Coming up for a vote in Congress is the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) which would extend the possibility of eligibility of legal permanent resident and eventual citizenship to young persons who were brought to the United States as children. Persons would need to finish two years of higher education or military service to qualify.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is endorsing passage of this bill. On the USCCB website is more information including Archbishop Jose Gomez’ letter to Congress which states in part: “With the passage of the DREAM Act, we can welcome a new generation of Americans who will one day become leaders of our nation,” … Archbishop Gomez said. “They have incredible talent and energy and are awaiting a chance to fully contribute their talents to our nation. We would be foolhardy to deny them that chance.” The USCCB has long supported the DREAM Act, as well as comprehensive reform of the nation’s immigration system.

“There are times when a proposal should be enacted because, simply put, it is the right thing to do. This is one of them,” the Archbishop said. “The DREAM Act represents a practical, fair, and compassionate solution for thousands of young persons who simply want to reach their God-given potential and contribute to the well-being of our nation.” (To read more see http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-227.shtml)

Contact your Representative to support young persons who are in the wilderness of the undocumented.