Tuesday of the first week of Advent
The readings for the day can be found here.
Today, we hear from the Prophet Isaiah about the day that is to come when the root of Jesse will arrive. This is Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. His coming will be marked by justice and faithfulness, and there shall be no harm throughout the Earth. Isaiah’s image of the arrival of Jesus is very comforting. We too are looking ahead with expectations of a familiar, comforting time: the Christmas season. We are eager and full of excitement for the joys of the season, a time to relax with friends and family and to renew our faiths through our preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah, in describing the exciting time that is to come, also uses a different picture of what this will look like, however. He includes many striking images of predators and prey sitting down with each other peacefully. And while spending time with our loved ones is an important part of Advent, this part of the reading serves as a calling to open ourselves up to the Lord and the plans He has for us, as unusual as they may be. We can view the reading as a challenge to sit down with our enemies as well as our friends this Advent. This is not an easy task, especially at a time when relaxing with family is the norm. I do not mean to say that we should invite our “enemies” to our Christmas dinners. Rather, there are many ways in which we can step outside of our comfort zone this Advent in order to serve Jesus. Take time today to reflect on how you are being called to sit down with your enemies peacefully in the name of the Lord. Is it through service? Is it through a change in your prayer structure? Or are you called simply to say hello to a stranger?
As we prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus, we are asking to know the Lord more deeply just like the disciples did. The Gospel reading suggests that Jesus will only be revealed to those who are childlike. How can we be more “childlike” this Advent? Well, rather than focusing on trying to find God, as the prophets and kings tried to do, we can open ourselves to the calling found in the first reading. Serving the Lord in different ways this Advent will allow us to find Him in the people we interact with: both friends and enemies. God will reveal himself to us as long as we have the courage to step out of our comfort zone, do something “childlike,” and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Ryan Hughes is a Junior from Louisville, KY. He is studying Civil Engineering and is on the Executive Boards of SLU Habitat for Humanity and the Civil Engineering Student Club. He also sings in Mass Choir and is on the Club Baseball team.