Tag Archives: 1st week of Advent

Advent’s Here

 

READINGS FOR THE FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT 

Nativity

The daily Advent readings at Mass for the first week of Advent are beautifully arranged and speak of a blessed promise.

The Old Testament readings, from the Prophet Isaiah, describe a bleak world as a fierce Assyrian army heads towards Jerusalem, laying waste towns and cities of Israel and Judea. Yet Isaiah sees something else. Instead of destroying armies, all nations are streaming to God’s mountain and “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” (Isaiah 2,1-5) Wars end and a frightened humanity knows peace.

The nations will come to God’s mountain, Jerusalem, where the temple stands, the prophet  says.  They will be fed a rich banquet (Wednesday), there the poor will triumph (Thursday), there the blind will see (Friday). The people will be safe on this rock, where children play around the cobra’s den, and the lion and the lamb lie down together (Tuesday). The prophet’s imagery of promised peace challenges the way we see things..

In the gospels  for the 1st week  Jesus Christ fulfills the Isaian prophecies. The nations have their representation in the  Roman centurion who humbly approaches Jesus in Capernaum.  (Monday) Jesus praises the childlike; little as they are 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 that they may find their way.  (Friday)

Many of our Advent readings 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. Jesus gives us hope beyond human hope.

Mary and Joseph,

Help us see what you and the prophets saw. Amen.

 

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?