Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 5:17-26

From Carroll Stuhlmueller, Biblical Meditations for Advent and the Christmas Season:

The spiritual apostolate of the Church and of each member of the Church cannot be faithful to Jesus if it is confined to people’s souls. To forgive sins requires that we be anxious to help the other person in all areas of his [or her] life. It requires that the Church take seriously the social sins of today’s world and work vigorously to remedy social injustices.

At this point we turn to the prophecy of Isaiah: “Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, Say to those who hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication.”

We too ought to be instruments of love, so that our kindliness toward the physical and material needs of others will induce a charity strong enough to burn away sin. The removal of sin ought to have repercussions across the total lives of others. Sometimes we may first address the sins and faults, at other times it will be more sensible to care first for the physical needs of others. Most of all we seek the full human dignity of our brothers and sisters.

The birth of Jesus ought to restore dignity and respect within the family. If we are worried about the faults and failings of others, Advent asks that we extend our concern over the totality of their lives and that we leave behind a vision of hope as did the prophet Isaiah (pp. 26-7).