First Reading: IS 30:19-21, 23-26
Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
when you would turn to the right or to the left.
He will give rain for the seed
that you sow in the ground,
And the wheat that the soil produces
will be rich and abundant.
On that day your flock will be given pasture
and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows;
The oxen and the asses that till the ground
will eat silage tossed to them
with shovel and pitchfork.
Upon every high mountain and lofty hill
there will be streams of running water.
On the day of the great slaughter,
when the towers fall,
The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
like the light of seven days.
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows.
Gospel: MT 9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”
Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
“On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows. (IS: 30-26)
We are on day 7 of waiting. How are you doing? Advent, is the great season of waiting. Aren’t we all waiting to have our wounds bound up and the angular life we live smoothed? This was Isaiah’s prophesy to a people whose world had been torn apart. The trusted institutions of the Jewish people were discredited, and the icons of their world destroyed.
Matthew clearly recounts that the time of waiting is nearly done. Jesus charges the disciples to “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Change the world! The end is near.
So what happened? Why are we waiting for a time when we will see the face of the Teacher;
when there will be no more weeping, the seed will be wet by rain, the wounds of God’s people will be bound?
The time of Advent, our time of waiting and preparation forces us to look at this question. Are we really ready to proclaim the kingdom is as hand? Do we believe that Jesus can be born in our hearts or do we hide behind the soft, gentleness of the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes?
In the period waiting, our challenge is to prepare our hearts, to be open to the transformational Love that is the Incarnation. By being incarnate, Jesus God broke into history once but not only once. This miracle happens every day, every hour, every moment that we say “yes” to the gift of Love that is ours.
It is very human that we are afraid to take this step. In “Silent Night,” we sing “Shepherds quake at the sight……” These. simple souls provide a window into our experience. The awesome power of this Love makes us quake so we turn away.
How are you doing in your wait? We can say, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Have we the courage drawn from the ultimate Love to live it? This advent “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Change the world! The end is near. You have seen the face of the Teacher. See this face in all you meet. Take the time to allow your wounds to be bound.
The waiting of Advent opens us to the surprise of the coming of Jesus everyday. We mark a particular day, Christmas, to celebrate this coming into our hearts.
Change your heart.
Be ready to welcome the Love into your heart.
Lord, I await Your coming! As I celebrate the first Advent––the first coming––I look toward the day where I will see You face to face. I imagine what it will be like. Give me a heart, Lord, that looks for Your coming on a daily basis. Help me to live my life where I’m constantly seeking Your presence. My offering to You today is my righteous life for I know I am only clean because of Jesus. Show me today how I need to be refined, purified, forgiven. Give me the strength to ask for forgiveness and to then change my ways.
~Sarah Martin, from “The Awe & Wonder of Advent: Day 18”
Rev Dcn. Owen Borda
Pastor – St. Dominic de Guzman American National Catholic Church