By Colleen O’Sullivan On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:6-8)
At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel. (Matthew 15:29-31)
Piety The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)
Study We are in the first week of Advent, the season during which we prepare to celebrate once again the birth of Jesus, our Immanuel, God with us; the season when we are invited to be especially aware of the ways in which Christ enters our hearts each day; the season when we await with joyful hope and expectation the glorious return of Christ the King. As I was thinking about Advent and pondering today’s Scripture readings, I was reminded of one of the contemplations in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Before focusing on the Incarnation, the person making the Exercises is asked to imagine the Holy Trinity looking at all the people on earth. I picture the Father, Son and Holy Spirit looking at us and shaking their heads. After all, it only took one generation for people to turn away from God and do the one thing God asked them not to. Even when confronted by their Creator, they wouldn’t own up to their sin and, instead, blamed each other and the wily serpent. By the second generation, people weren’t content just to turn away from God; they turned against one another, brother murdering brother. Not a pretty picture at all. Century after century was just more of the same.
Above all else, our God is compassionate and merciful. I picture the Holy Trinity wanting to help us find a way out of our self-created mess, because they love us. I hear them conferring with one another and saying, “What our people really need is a Savior. There is no other way for them out of their misery.”
This promise of salvation is the message the prophet Isaiah proclaims in today’s first reading. He says that life will not always be like this – full of hunger, suffering and dying. Our God has promised something better. Our God will save us.
As we go on to the Gospel reading, we see Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior, looking at all the sick and suffering people at his feet, reaching out in love and compassion, making them whole, just as he touches you and me with healing and forgiveness. During Advent, we reflect on the times we have experienced his loving kindness even as we look forward to the day when all creation is redeemed, when there is no more weeping or crying, when we are with Christ forever.
Imagine the Holy Trinity looking at you. What do they see and hear? In what part of your life do you most need the compassionate touch of a Savior? In prayer, ask our Lord for healing. God will never leave you comfortless.
Posted by The Lighthouse Keeper at 3:17 AM