Advent 2018: Times of peril, promise

This story appears in the Advent feature series. View the full series.

Editor's Note: During the Advent and Christmas season, Global Sisters Report is sharing Celebration's weekly "Scripture for Life" columns, commentary on the Sunday readings by sisters and others.


We are living in a time of global turmoil as we watch some democracies being taken apart while other ones erode socially, culturally and economically. As democracies come apart or falter, international world leaders scramble to figure out how to save the democratic system and its values, while thwarting off external and internal threats. At this time in the history of the world, the most urgent and dire threats to democracy are internal. Nationalist and populist forces are gaining power and turning to autocratic behavior in such countries as Italy, Austria, Poland and the United States. People living in various democratic nations are expressing the view that their democratic governments are not serving them well.

International conversations such as those held at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2018 have called for world leaders who are social innovators as well as creative and concerned about the underrepresented. Because the planet and all communities of life are living in the midst of climate change that is wreaking havoc in many parts of the world, leaders will have to be people willing to make the just and ethical decisions needed to assure quality of life and sustainability for all creation. The needs are great; the demands are even greater; and the geopolitical and environmental crises are beyond human comprehension.

Read the full version of "Times of peril, promise" here on Celebration.

[Carol J. Dempsey is a Dominican Sister of Caldwell, New Jersey, and professor of biblical studies at the University of Portland, Oregon. Scripture for Life commentary appears in NCR's sister publication Celebration, a comprehensive pastoral resource.]