Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. Happy is the mortal who does this, the one who holds it fast, who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it, and refrains from doing any evil.
Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and do not let the eunuch say, “I am just a dry tree.” And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Dorothy Day, the great American and Catholic social activist, once wrote in her autobiography: “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” Isaiah’s reading echoes this and offers hope.
No one likes to be excluded. Fear not, God’s house is big enough for all. Pope Francis has praised Dorothy Day for her efforts. In my mind, they are both champions of inclusion. They share a vision of community that constantly extends beyond traditional or comfortable borders.
If we have been stung by loneliness in our life, and who truly hasn’t, we know that Dorothy Day and Pope Francis’ inspired example is true: the only solution is love. And just as they found, so when we dare to form community and welcome whomever or whatever is most challenging, the walls of our heart will always expand.
—Jordan Skarr works with the Jesuits at the Midwest province office in Chicago, assisting with programming for pastoral ministries.
O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appears
Rejoice! Rejoice, O Israel! To you will come Emmanuel.
—traditional Advent hymn