Isaiah 40:1 Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.
As someone who struggles with addiction, I know how it feels to receive comfort from another person. No, it doesn’t exactly make a struggle disappear. However, it does remind me that I’m not facing my battle alone.
In today’s first reading, depending on which commentary you read or homily you hear, either God is addressing His angels to give comfort to His people, or the angels are addressing how the exiles are to treat Jerusalem. Because I’m a Bible nerd, I’ve studied four Catholic commentaries on the verse tonight and the verdict is split.
However, that’s beside the point. Either way, we, as Christians, are to provide comfort to God’s people. This doesn’t happen through passing judgment, gossiping behind one’s back, or any of the other tendencies we are best known for as “church people.”
We don’t look at a strung out heroin addict and think junkie. We see someone’s son or daughter. A child’s mother or father who needs help. We don’t see a homeless person and think bum. We see someone made in God’s image who needs help getting back on their feet. We don’t see a Priest or Bishop who has taken advantage of their authority. We see a man in desperate need of God’s grace.
Giving comfort isn’t easy at all times. Just this past week, I made a decision to use “tough love” with a friend instead of comfort. This might have been what led him to make a horrible decision. Comfort doesn’t push other people away. It points them toward the cross. Who in your life is God calling you to comfort today?