Thursday, December 15, 2016

Reflection for the 3rd Week in Advent, Part 2

Thursday – Take Us Back

In today's first reading, the prophet Isaiah uses the analogy of marriage to describe the relationship between God and His people.

God is like the perfectly faithful husband of an often faithless wife. Sometimes He has to let her go her own way and experience the consequences of her infidelity. Hiding His face, He seems to abandon her for a time and allows her to feel His righteous anger at her behavior.

But this doesn't last long. God the husband loves His bride too much to ever leave her. When she recognizes her sin and her grief overtakes her and leads to repentance, then God takes her back. With a wonderful tenderness, He reveals His great mercy and wraps her in His arms. All is forgiven. She need not blush with shame any more. God's love is securely enclosing her and will never fade. The covenant, the bond, between them is stronger than death. She is safe.

We are safe, each of us individually, in God's loving arms. When we are unfaithful to God, He may do with us as He did with His people. He may allow us to experience the consequences of our sin. But when we repent, He is more than ready to take us back. He wants to forgive us. He loves to forgive us. He will always take us back.

Friday – A Lamp

In today's Gospel, Jesus says that John the Baptist was a “burning and shining lamp.” John was on fire for God. God's word burned within him, and he spoke it with clarity and force. God's light radiated from him as he preached and taught and lived according to God's call. The fire and light that coursed through John illuminated all those around him and spread into their hearts if they were open to receive them.

We, too, are called to be burning and shining lamps. Like John, we must allow ourselves to burn with God's fire and shine with God's light so that everyone around us may be touched by the warmth and illumination flowing through us.

Thus may it be. Amen.

Saturday – O Wisdom

“O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!”

Today we hear the first of the Advent “O” antiphons. These magnificent little verses are specially designed to help us to look back to the Old Testament to see how God prepared for Christ's coming and to look forward to Christmas when we celebrate the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Incarnation.

Each day between now and Christmas, write the daily “O” antiphon on a sticky note and post it in a prominent place. Then throughout the day, stop now and then to read it and meditate on God's amazing plan of salvation and on His gift of Himself to you and to the whole world.

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