December 6, 2020
Isaiah gave them, while they were still in exile, the words we hear in this reading...
Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.
What good news.
The Jews would return back to Jerusalem. This was a second Exodus for them, and God, once again, showed them that He was the loving father who cared for them.
Those words of Isaiah can also help us when we find ourselves in Exile.
Our Exile happens when we are in the midst of our struggles, depressions, disappointments, or difficulties. It happens when we doubt that God knows what He is doing in our lives, or when we cease trusting in God's timing, in other words, when we sin. These times are a period of exile for us.
Jesus Christ, by his death and resurrection, brings us hope when we recognize our sins, which can be very hard to do, our exile.
The words of Isaiah can give us courage...
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.
We know that God, in his plan, has called each of us to make Him present in our world today...
When we struggle, the words of this second letter of Peter can help...
...The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
God gives us this time of Advent so we can reflect on our lives and enter into conversion for our failings, our sins, and then experience His great love, mercy, and compassion.
Sometimes it can be so difficult to wait for the Lord and to believe in His timing.
His timing can be different from ours. That is one of the lessons we can learn from Advent.
Are we willing to wait?
Are we willing to watch?
...or do we still think that God should time things as we want?.
In this reading, God sent St. John the Baptist as a messenger, preparing the way for Christ. Every day God sends us to prepare the way so that we can welcome Christ into our lives.
Remember that means we have to go into the wilderness, into the dryness or the failures of lives.
Often it is a strange person like John the Baptist, who dressed strangely and ate strange things, that can lead us to conversion; can lead us to seeing our sins, our lack of compassion and mercy to those that we disagree or struggle with.
We usually try to avoid going into this wilderness. But that is exactly where we must go to find God's call to conversion and to experience His mercy and love.
Are we willing to look at those moments of difficulties, doubts, and frustrations, which are a form of our going into the wilderness?
Are we willing to go there?
Each of us, at our baptism, were called to be messengers from God, and to prepare the way for the daily coming of Christ into our world.
Are we willing to do this by having mercy, compassion, and forgiveness to all, even to the enemy?
...and we will make discoveries about ourselves