Saturday, December 11, 2010

He Comes With Vindication

December 12, 2010
Third Sunday of Advent A 2010

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. Isaiah 35:4-6

“[T]he blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” Matthew 11:5-6

Piety answers the question of the presence of the Lord. When we celebrate the birthday of the Lord, we celebrate his first coming. Every new beginning of the divine touch in our lives recalls the first coming of Christ into our world. As the farmer waits for the showing of what has been planted in the earth, the farmer is patient until it receives the early and the late rains. So our piety waits for the gentle rain of the heavens which is like the coming of Christ into our lives. Christ nourishes our lives by feeding our hunger and our thirst for the things of God. Advent is like the gentle rain that feeds our soul and triggers our desires for the coming of Christ into our lives. John’s question that he sends to Christ from the prison about whether he is the one who is to come receives the answer of the recital of the good works of Christ. What we do today for the hungry, the thirsty, the naked the imprisoned, the sick is how we welcome Christ into our lives. Christ identifies with all the above and as we feed the needs that come our way, we welcome Christ into our lives. Christ calls us to live out the answer he gave to John about how he comes. The Last Judgment scene spells it out. Whatever we do for the least person, Christ takes us done for him. When we allow our needs to be met by another, we celebrate his being one with j us. His Second Coming is a constant of his presence in each of us as we need one another. Christ identifies with our needs. (Matthew 25:40)

The glory of the Lord jumps out on our world through our charity. The best gift I ever got on a Christmas was the notification that a family visited orphans in my name. How wonderful it is to be the recipient of the good that is done by others! We enter into their lives in a special way. The desert and the parched land of our souls thus bloom with abundant flowers. The glory of the Lord shines out on our world through the charity we offer and receive. We are the hand of the Lord when we strengthen the hands that are feeble; make firm the knees that are weak. We are the voice of the Lord when we encourage one another to do the good that needs doing. Wherever there is charity, we have the coming of the Lord. Prophets are ahead the crowd and bear the brunt of the pains of the challenge of change. We are the prophets of the new age when we do something to alleviate the sufferings of our world.

Our actions need to prepare the way of the Lord. We must be the messengers that point out the coming of Christ. But our actions are meant to lay claim to what Christ said about John the Baptist: “The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Our actions celebrate the coming of Christ in an extraordinary way when we are willing to live out what are words are saying. We will be greater than John if we preach Christ with jour lives. We need to be able to say to our world. “When you see me, you see Christ.” We need to be his presence until he comes in his glory. The words of St. Francis say it all. “Preach always and occasionally use a word.”