Await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
The readings on the Fourth Sunday of Advent speak beautifully of God’s promises. Time and again, God delivers great things, and people rejoice at these wonders. God is good, and God is faithful. This year, NETWORK had experience with keeping promises and remaining faithful. Too often, this has taken the form of making sure Congress did not slash funding to vital human needs programs including SNAP and WIC, even after promising not to in the deal averting a government shutdown.
The Third Sunday of Advent is a time of rejoicing and gladness amidst solemn anticipation. This spirit could readily apply to expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC). When Congress passed the expanded CTC in 2021, it lifted a record number of children out of poverty and was a resounding victory for justice-seekers who envision a world in which all people have what they need to thrive. When Congress allowed the expanded CTC to expire at the end of 2021, child poverty rose from 5.2 percent in 2021 to 12.4 percent in 2022. This hit Black, Brown, and Indigenous families especially hard, and this staggering setback was about one thing: the choices of Congress.
Joan F. Neal, NETWORK’s Deputy Executive Director and Chief Diversity Officer, reflects on the readings on the Second Sunday of Advent. She writes that the readings remind us that the purpose of Advent is to show us that we can start again, that new beginnings are possible. The Gospel and the First Reading this Sunday feature the words of Isaiah, fulfilled in John the Baptist, a voice in the wilderness proclaiming Jesus’ entry into human history. Here, God is doing something entirely new. Human history is starting over again, and we get a second chance to hear the Word of God and follow it.
White Supremacy and American Christianity, Part 3
Sister Eilis McCulloh, HM, reflects on the readings for Advent’s first week. In the Gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples to be alert and watchful, careful not to be found sleeping when the time is nigh. This year, the NETWORK community has had countless opportunities to stay awake and to practice the virtue of vigilance. At a moment’s notice, we have called on faith-filled justice-seekers to protect the rights of asylum seekers in the United States. From the racist and problematic U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s CBP1 App, to the threat to cut funding to programs that serve asylum seekers, some Members of Congress continually proposed drastic changes to the asylum process. And how did you respond?