Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent
The readings for the day can be found here.
A goal with the reflections we’ve provided throughout Advent 2012 is to give members of our community–students, faculty, staff and administrators–an opportunity to reflect prayerfully about the daily readings for the season. These reflections give all of us an opportunity to enter more deeply into our faith, to enter more deeply into the mystery we celebrate and anticipate, to enter more deeply into our relationship with God. This, the “Fourth Week of Advent,” though, is only two days long: today, Christmas Eve, and tomorrow, Christmas Day.
Not all of our authors are Catholic, or Christian, but all of our authors reflect the many layers of men and women of faith in our University community. Regardless of the season, it is clear that we are truly blessed at Saint Louis University.
Today, the end of Advent, we anticipate, for Christians, tomorrow, and the birth of Christ. Today we end one era, and tomorrow, we begin a new era, if we allow it to happen among us. This is the “promise kept” Fr. Biondi mentioned in his reflection for the First Sunday of Advent, 2 December.
As we enter more deeply into the Year of Faith, [October 11 2012-November 24 2013] we clearly need our faith and this season. Wars, hunger, illness, loneliness, sadness, debt and finances, perhaps personal conflicts and relationships, remain–but we know from Advent that their power is limited.
A greater person, a stronger power, faces us, and calls us, and urges us to be more than all the things that work to harm us. This mystery, Jesus, faced similar trials and tests in his life, his world, among his supporters and his detractors. He did not hide from the difficulties; he entered into them, and wants to enter into our lives, knowing who we are, and where we are, and as we are. And so, as we prepare to leave Advent, we can continue to pray,
Come, Lord Jesus. Come and visit your people.
We await your coming. Come, O Lord.
As we leave Advent, and our readings draw our hearts to tomorrow, and the next moment, we hear God giving King David something of a “reality check.” God teaches David—again–that God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s needs are not ours. Where and how we live, there lives God, who promises David a life and legacy beyond his imagining, beyond his dreams. Promises made.
We move from one prophet, Nathan, to another, Zechariah, who had experienced his own miracle from God, and teaches us more about and from God. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, not coincidentally, gives his own history lesson, reiterating the promises made by God, to us, through Abraham and the prophets–to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
These are the promises made, and Jesus is the promise kept, for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David…
With this grace and gift from God, let’s continue to go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation…as we wait and watch for… the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Promises made, promises kept.