Third Thursday of Advent

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

Reflection—v. 4,  ‘They shall build up the ancient ruins…’

Isaiah also takes up the theme of exiles coming back home.  He reminds us that we must begin to build homes again among the ruins of what has been destroyed.  As God’s people, we are called to be ‘builders’ and ‘repairers’ and the ones who ‘raise up’ what has been torn down.  Downtown, next door to the largest shelter for those of us who live on the street, church groups come to share food in an old, abandoned lot.  It’s not an empty parking lot, but a crumbling foundation and broken concrete, the remains of some long-ago fallen building.  The city’s ‘Ambassadors’ (a euphemistic name, if ever there was one) make sure to show up to discourage the practice, handing out cards that read, ‘This is not a long-term solution.’  No, of course, it isn’t.  But it is the necessary place we must begin.  As Catholic Worker Peter Maurin teaches, borrowing a phrase from old-time union organizers, we must ‘build a new world in the shell of the old.’  We start in the ruins, and we share what we have.  Then we experience the Advent of Christ, the one born in a stable because in those days there was no room in the official places for holy family either.

Prayer   God of home for all, I give my hands to build a new world in these ruins.

-Chad Hyatt