Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Lord Will Answer Them

December 9, 2010

I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and double-edged, To thresh the mountains and crush them, to make the hills like chaff. When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off and the storm shall scatter them. But you shall rejoice in the LORD, and glory in the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 41:15-16

Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. Matthew 11:11-12

The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain, their tongues are parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open up rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the broad valleys; I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water. I will plant in the desert the cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive; I will set in the wasteland the cypress, together with the plane tree and the pine, That all may see and know, observe and understand, That the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. Isaiah 41:17-20

A little faith is a powerful and dangerous ingredient. Elsewhere in Mark’s Good News, we have read that faith which is only the size of a tiny mustard seed is enough to move a mountain and fling it into the sea. Isaiah further develops that metaphor about the power of faith and moving mountains. The prophet tells us, “With a little faith, we can thresh mountains and crush them, make the hills like chaff of wheat to be blown away in the wind.”

The mountains are the obstacles we encounter that get in the way of our friendship with God and each other. Fortunately, throughout time, we have had the prophets and the law to guide us. Now, as we read in Advent, we have the final voice crying out in the wilderness, the voice of “Cousin” John, calling for us to change the direction in which we are looking for happiness and turn to the Lord.

We don’t need a “December to Remember” event at the local Lexus dealer. We don’t need the latest deals at WalMart or Costco. We don’t even need any “kiss” that begins with Kay. John, not Madison Avenue, not K Street, not Wall Street and certainly not Hollywood nor Vine, only John and then Jesus orients us in the direction we need. No matter what forces try to keep us from getting closer to God, John is there like a compass to always point us to true north.

Is your mailbox filled with Christmas catalogs and seasonal ads? Toss those four-color pages into your recycle bin and instead go through your closets and dressers for clothing and household items which can be used by those less fortunate. Contact a local charity or thrift shop with your in-kind kindness.

The poor thirst for what is needed to get through the next harsh winter…warm blankets, winter coats, heavy socks, hats and gloves. How many of us have more than enough of these items that we can not spare some of our extras? Help the Lord answer their prayers.