Under the care of the Discalced Carmelite Friars
The love of God for us is a great mystery which in a sense all of us have to explore for ourselves. We are all influenced, of course, by the way other people think about God, but unless we try to discover what the Lord means to ourselves we will never get very far.I can share with you some thoughts of my own on how I understand my faith and the presence of God in my life but this will not necessarily be the way you see things. For one thing circumstances differ so much from individual to individual that we cannot possibly all see things from same angle.
During Advent we are meant to ask ourselves what does it mean to talk about God becoming incarnate an this earth, in other words that the God who we think of as a creator, as spiritual and mysterious, could manifest himself in Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
The word of God in the scriptures on which we are now meditating gives us some starting points and provides material to guide the direction of our thoughts. This is all part of preparing the way for the Lord’s coming. When we talk about his coming into our lives, this is not just a figure of speech; it is not like the nativity play put on by the children who merely pretend that it is happening. God’s promise of salvation is something completely different from make believe: it is not the same as a scientific formula, which may be perfectly true but does not touch our lives. The Lord comes to do something for us, he comes with a purpose. That purpose has been outlined for us in a great passage from Deutero Isaiah, which makes up the first reading.
“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me
For the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,
To bind up hearts that am broken;
To proclaim liberty to captives;
Freedom to those in prison
To proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.” Is. 61 11
Here we have a very clear echo of the four servants saw which precede this passage in the course of the book. How the servant is described as being ‘anointed’ in Christ. Jesus applied these words to himself in St. Luke’ s Gospel. Ch.4 15 19.
The spirit always comes to mark a great work of God. The spirit had already been promised to the messianic king (Is 11 1-2.) and later to the messanic people. An anointing signifies an inner strengthening to preach God’s word and it also enlightens the mind. Now at last the time of the promised salvation has arrived and the message is directed to the poor and the afficted who make up a religious minorilty. The liberation which the Lord’s power will effectively bring about will cause the people of God to break out in songs of gladness. ‘They are clothed in the garments of salvation, i.e. the saving act of the Lord.
The Lord comes to bring good news to the poor and to us, to bind up hearts that are broken and to offer comfort and consolation to people who are going through a rough patch. This is one good reason why we should rejoice in the Lord and make this truly a “Gaudete” Sunday.
The advent witness of St. John the Baptist is again adduced in today’s gospel, this time from St. John the Evangelist. One of the great themes of the fourth gospel is this work of witnessing to the truth and the light which is Christ. This kind of witness will be instrumental in leading people to faith. The evangelist repeats the message of Mark – last Sunday’s gospel, namely that the Baptist is the Isaiah voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the Lord.
John the Baptist called out to those around him, “Among you there stands one whom you do not know”. Now this may not be true of us, but isn’t it a fact that we could all profitably know the Lord a little better. We take part in the Eucharist in order to meet Christ and through this encounter we get to know Him better. We also make up a community of believers whose vocation is like that of John the Baptist to be witnesses to the light. We do in fact witness to Christ the light of the world by going along publicly to join our parish community for the celebration of the Eucharist. But we can witness to Him in other ways as well. We can witness to Him by our serene faith in all circumstances even when buffeted by disappointment and temptation. We can witness to Him in our place of work by the way in which we carry out the tasks entrusted to us or which we have undertaken to do. We can witness to him amid the bright lights, the noise and the laughter of the Christmas party simply by communicating to others if the opportunity arises that Christ means something special to us. We can allow the Lord more room in our lives if we are open to Him while celebrating the Eucharist, the new covenant in his blood.
Tadgh Tierney ocd