This week’s spiritual is well-known and full of hope. This song turns the question “Is there no balm in Gilead?” found in Jeremiah, into an assertion of confidence. There is a balm. It flows in Gilead. The balm brings healing, revival, knowledge, and love.
As we journey through Advent, we need the reassurance that, in the midst of the weariness and wounding of life, there is confidence and courage. The Holy Spirit revives and restores. If we don’t have the energy to preach or pray, we can still tell of the love of Jesus with our words and our lives. The balm in Gilead gives us strength.
This is a season full of contradictions and complexity: situations and stresses lead to difficult emotions. We need the assurance of a balm that heals, a presence that soothes, and a person who is present. Advent reminds us that in the midst of these contradictions, God incarnate is with us — presence and power that always has been and always will be — God in us.
This week’s bonus Advent Playlist is on Spotify. It was created by the Notre Dame Centre for Liturgy and includes well-know and unexpected selections.