A Prophet's Words
Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem
These opening words from Isaiah in today’s first reading pry open the darkness and offer joy and glory, hope and salvation, care and sustenance. Isaiah offers us what so many need in these dark days. The prophet, filled with the Spirit, proclaims joy and blessings giving comfort to a people who are suffering deeply.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.
The reading from Second Peter reminds us that not all prophetic words wrap us, like a blanket in comfort and warmth. It places the reminder that the way in which we choose to live, to be in relationship with one another, to be in relationship with God will be brought to light after that consuming fire. The author, filled with the Spirit, proclaims a warning giving discomfort to a people who need a reminder to look to the future and to live according to the faith.
What is needed, what are we to give voice to? Generally, a bit of both. Specifically, in that conversation with a loved one or a coworker, that is much more difficult. Knowing what words to speak to another, in those moments of matter, requires discernment and listening to God’s voice within you. It can be tempting to choose the discomforting words when we feel slighted, mistreated, or vulnerable. It can be tempting to choose the words of comfort to escape a difficult conversation, to speak platitudes instead of compassion.
During this coming Advent week, consider taking a little more time to both listen and speak with God. Ask God for the grace and wisdom to know what words to speak in the conversations in your life. Listen to the words God speaks to you, especially if they are those words of comfort or discomfort. Embrace silence. And perhaps, this bit of advice from my own experience is helpful, when in doubt – listen.