During Advent, Christians wait expectantly. We wait for Christmas, Christ’s First Coming. In the birth of Jesus, God entered our time and space. He came to redeem us. And we wait for the return of Christ, his Second Coming. On that day, we look forward to entering God’s eternal banquet. Therefore, “Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.” Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar ¶ 39.
We wait expectantly, not passively
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the Lord
and a day of vindication by our God.
Is 61: 1-2a (NABRE). These are powerful words. Indeed, Jesus himself read these words in the synagogue of Nazareth as he began his ministry. Lk 4: 16-21. They capture his entire ministry. “[A]ll who suffer because their lives are in some way ‘diminished’ thus hear from him the ‘good news’ of God’s concern for them, and they know for certain that their lives too are a gift carefully guarded in the hands of the Father.” Evangelium vitae ¶ 32.
If we seek to bring glad tidings to the poor, we must encounter them. To heal the brokenhearted, we must be in solidarity with them. To proclaim liberty to the captives and to release the prisoners, we must confront structures of sin that enslave them. That is, we must act.
What can we do that makes a difference? We can volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter. Maybe we know someone who is alone, and would appreciate a dinner invitation. Or perhaps there is someone in prison to whom we can write. There are many things we can do for others. Advent is a great time for it.