Tag Archives: 1st week of Advent

What You Find in the First Week of Advent

The daily Advent readings at Mass for the first week of Advent are beautifully arranged..

In the Old Testament readings,  the Prophet Isaiah speaks as a fierce Assyrian army heads towards Jerusalem. Bad times ahead, but the prophet sees something else. All nations are streaming to God’s mountain.

The nations will come to God’s mountain, Jerusalem, where the temple stands, the prophet says.  They’ll be fed a rich banquet (Wednesday),  the poor will triumph (Thursday),  the blind will see (Friday). Safe on this rock, children play around the cobra’s den, and the lion and the lamb lie down together (Tuesday). The prophet  challenges us to see our world in another way.

In the gospels  Jesus Christ fulfills the Isaian prophecies. The Roman centurion, humbly approaching Jesus in Capernaum, represents all nations approaching him. (Monday)  Jesus praises the childlike;  they will enter the kingdom of heaven.(Tuesday)  He feeds a multitude on the mountain.(Wednesday) His kingdom is built on rock.(Thursday)  He gives sight to the blind to find their way.  (Friday)

Many Advent readings in these early weeks of Advent are from the gospel of Matthew, who portrays Jesus teaching on a mountain (Isaiah’s favorite symbol). His miracles affect all. Jesus is the new temple, the Presence of God, Emmanuel, God with us. He brings hope beyond human hope.

Lord, help us see what you and the prophets see.

Friday, First Week of Advent

  Readings:

Isaiah 29:17-24:  The deaf shall hear and the blind shall see.

Matthew 9:27-31:  Jesus gives two blind men sight.

Two blind men are among the many healed by Jesus in Matthew’s gospel. They’re healed together and they represent the blind who will see when the Messiah comes, Isaiah says.

Notice there are two of them, not one. Do the two blind men represent a collective blindness, a group blindness, perhaps a group prejudice against certain people, or a way of thinking that distorts how others are seen? Is it more than    physical blindness they share?  The cures Jesus worked touched more than the ills of body.

When John Newton, the former 18th century captain of an African slave ship, wrote the famous hymn “Amazing grace,” he said he “was blind, but now I see.” It wasn’t physical blindness he described. The tough seaman was converted on a voyage after reading Thomas a Kempis’ “The Imitation of Christ,” and gradually came to see the horrific evil of slavery as well as other vices he had fallen into.

In 1788 after years of debate over the issue in England, Prime Minister William Pitt formed a committee to investigate the slave trade which, until then, was largely seen by the nation as good for their country’s economic welfare. One of its star witnesses was John Newton who described in detail the slave trade and the horrendous practice it was.

This advent may Jesus bring light to our world, our nation, and our church. There are many things we don’t see.

What do you think they are?