The following is a reflection given by Sister Clara Fehringer at Historic Saint Paul Catholic Church in Lexington, Kentucky, at Mass on December 7, 2020, the second Sunday of Advent.

“Comfort, give comfort to my people says the Lord.”

This statement from the Prophet Isaiah gives us blessed assurance as we navigate through this pandemic that God is on our side—what a comfort!

We look around us and see so many people working tirelessly to bring comfort to others.

Doctors, nurses, health care workers with many titles—offering words of comfort as they try to restore physical health and hope to too many of our brothers and sisters confined to hospital beds.

Parents and teachers offering comfort to children who are trying to grasp the reality that this will not be an ordinary Christmas.

Funeral directors who offer comfort to families who have lost loved ones and now find themselves unable have an elaborate end of life celebration for their deceased loved ones.

The scientists and researchers whose comfort comes to us by way of hope for a vaccine that will set us on a path that relieves us of mask-wearing, social-distancing isolation. 

These are but a few examples of how Isaiah’s dream of a wasteland becoming a highway for our God—the rugged land being made a plain .

As God’s co-workers, Isaiah’s dream becomes our challenge. How are we to speak words of tenderness to one another assuring each other that God has not abandoned us? 

Consider the many LGBTQ persons whose path has been made more difficult by the Church and her members. They need comfort, and a level path in which together we all help one another fulfill hopes and dreams and together we find Jesus born again into this diverse community.

Children, still separated from their parents living in shelters at the border. Children here in our city, our state of Kentucky, our nation, who cry for comfort as they go to bed hungry because of a broken social system. 

Persons who find life so burdensome they attempt, and too often succeed, to slip out of this world by taking their own life. 

If we listen carefully, we can hear the cries for comfort all around us. 

We know the saying “we cannot give what we do not have.” This Advent, unlike any other, with its stay-at-home restrictions offers us the opportunity to spend some quiet, reflective moments each day with our Creator—It is in the comfort of quiet that God will grace us with a deep-rooted belief that just as God cared for the exiled Israelites, God cares for each of us. We are precious in God’s eyes. All living creatures are precious to God.

“Comfort, give comfort to my people says the Lord.”

Let’s all say it together.

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.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

IS 40:1-5, 9-11