To reach God’s holy mountain there’s a journey to make, Isaiah says, but guides will show the way. “Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you, to prepare your way.” Mark 1, 1. John the Baptist appears in the desert promising forgiveness to those washing in the waters of the Jordan River. We have been baptized in the waters of baptism.
The Old Testament readings this Advent week, mostly from Isaiah, describe a desert journey, but the desert will bloom and a highway will be there, the prophet promises. (Monday) God will speak tender, comforting words to his people on the way. (Tuesday) Those who hope in him will renew their strength, soaring on eagle’s wings. (Wednesday) Though we are as insignificant as a worm, God holds us in his hands and says:“Fear not; I am with you.” (Thursday) God is our teacher and shows us the way to go. (Friday) On the way, prophets like Elijah accompany us. (Saturday)
Jesus is our way, the gospel readings say. He healed and forgave the paralyzed man– symbol of a paralyzed humanity– who was lowered through the roof into the house in Capernaum. (Monday) Like a good shepherd he searches for and finds the stray sheep. (Tuesday) “Come to me all who are weary, ” he says. (Wednesday) He sends us prophets and guides like John the Baptist and Elijah.( Thursday) Though rejected like John the Baptist, Jesus still teaches. (Friday)
He will save us, even though unrecognized like John and Elijah. (Saturday)
List of Readings
Monday: Isaiah 30, 1-10 The desert will bloom and a highway will be there, a holy way.Luke 5,17-26 The paralyzed man, lowered through the roof, is healed and forgiven.
Tuesday: Isaiah 40,1-11 The desert is a way to the Lord. Comfort my people. Mattthew 18, 12-14 The shepherd searches for the stray sheep.
Wednesday: Isaiah 30,25-31 God is the strength of his people. Matthew 11,28-30 “Come to me all who are weary…”
Thursday: Isaiah 41,13-20 God says, “I will grasp you by the hand. Fear not.”Matthew 11,11-15 John the Baptist is sent like Elijah.
Friday: Isaiah 48-17-19 I teach you what’s for your good and lead you on the way to go. Matthew 11,1-19 John and Jesus rejected as teachers.
Saturday: Sirach 48,1-4; 9-11 Elijah, precursor of John. Matthew 17, 9-13 Elijah and John not recognized.