Happy Are All Who Wait for God!

Advent’s liturgical readings from the prophet Isaiah are among the most beautiful, poetic, and hopeful texts of the Bible.  They speak of expectation, longing, liberation, and God’s unfailing love and solidarity with humanity.

A few weeks ago, Bondings 2.0 asked its readers to write short reflections on selected Isaiah readings from the perspective of LGBTQ people and allies.  We will print selections from these reflections on each of the four Advent Sundays.

If you would like to submit a reflection for the coming weeks, please click here, read the guidelines, and complete the submission form.

You can find the previous Sunday’s reflections here

Below are the selections for the Second Sunday of Advent.  They are preceded by the Scripture citation upon which the reflection is based.


Isaiah 9:1-2

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom
    a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing;
They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest,
as they exult when dividing the spoils.

Submitted by: Bryan Massingale       Location: Fordham University, New York

These words from Isaiah both haunt and console me.  The darkness is more apparent to me than the light.  As a Black gay man, my country devalues and discounts my life. More than I want to admit, I feel endangered.  My church tolerates me on its good days; at worst, it blames those who love like me for its own gross failings.  These days I fumble in the darkness, making my way with unsure footing.

Advent for me is a time to keep vigil, to watch for signs of light no matter how faint or distant.  Some years ago, when I was in a place of dark confusion, I wrote this poem about living in expectation of the promise of a new beginning.  I call it:

Sunrise Vigil

Sunrise keeps a promise
that night does not forever last.

Yet dawn
breaks
only at its appointed time.

So I wait . . . .
and watch . . . .
in hidden light

Trusting
that night does not forever last.

 

   *    *     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Submitted by:  Jacqui O.        Location:  New Haven, Connecticut

“The Prophet Isaiah” by Antonio Balestra

When Isaiah tells me to ponder the image of the people “exult[ing] when dividing the spoils,” I start to see gluttonous pillaging and delight in the defeat of our neighbors. But what if the spoils aren’t ill-gotten? What does it mean when the harvest and the spoils are love? Or mercy? Ora mere child, born under occupation and into poverty?

What then?

The rejoicing that comes from the harvest is the relief of being saved from scarcity—of finally having plenty. The exultation of dividing the spoils is having so much abundance that you can share with your neighbor and satiate yourself, as well.

God wants to give us a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. And that means that even in moments of real scarcity—even when we have only seven loaves and two fish, even when our brother squanders his inheritance, even when seven years of famine are foreshadowed in a dream—we have plenty enough love and mercy to share abundantly with our neighbor while trusting that our own needs will be met, too.

And that’s the challenge of being queer and Catholic. It so often feels that we cannot love both the church and ourselves. It seems impossible to extend goodwill to church leaders while maintaining respect for ourselves. We can’t imagine enough mercy for us all.

As Dorothy Day said, the Gospel takes away our right forever to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor. Well, Christmas forever takes away our right to distinguish between those deserving and undeserving of the spoils of Christ.

The love and mercy aren’t going to run out. Let’s exult in that.


Submitted by: Fabelhaft Griffin       Location:  Notre Dame, Indiana

Isaiah 30: 19-21

Truly, God is waiting to be gracious to you,
    truly, God shall rise to show you mercy;
For  God is a god of justice:
    happy are all who wait for God!

“Happy are all who wait for God!” Happy, but also anxious, stressed, downtrodden, and fearful. Waiting for God can sometimes feel like waiting for a miracle: Impossible: unless you’re Catholic. As an LGBT Catholic, I sometimes feel like I’m waiting for God and then something else: because if a straight person is waiting for “just God” then surely I must be waiting for God and then some. But we’re all waiting for the same God. We’re all confessing the same sins. We’re all susceptible to the same human condition. We’re all destined to be loved, whether we like it or not. And we’re destined to love, come what may. I await God as patiently as I can, with nerves awry and heart aflame.


If you would like to submit a reflection for the coming weeks, please click here, read the guidelines, and complete the submission form.

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, December 8, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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