Dec. 3, 2020
Wednesday of the 1st Week of Advent
Memorial of St. Francis Xavier
Isaiah 26: 1-6
Psalm 118: 1, 8-9; 19-21; 25-27a Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Matthew 7: 21, 24-27
From the 1st reading from Isaiah:
A strong city have we;
he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us.
Open up the gates
to let in a nation that is just,
one that keeps faith.
A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace;
in peace, for its trust in you.
The word that comes to mind from today’s readings is “strength”, or perhaps, “security”. Beautiful words in a year that has been very unstable.
The 1st reading continues the week’s theme, extolling the justice of the Lord, especially the idea that the Messiah-to-come will be one who brings peace to his people by providing them with a safe, secure existence. Isaiah uses words like: strong, ramparts, firm, Rock, tumbles, tramples – all very strong, vivid language.
In the gospel reading, Jesus helps us to understand how to build what we crave. If we want safety, then we must build with a strong, secure foundation. If we build our lives on things of little value, then our day-to-day existence always feels like we are on shaky ground – we are rootless and un-secure.
This has been a year of great insecurity. There are tangible problems like money and health, but the depth of this year’s unrest has shaken people to their inner core, leading many to question how firm a foundation their life is really resting on.
What really matters to you? Do you feel like you are resting on a firm foundation? What brings you a sense of safety and security? Pray on these things today.
Fun Fact – this gospel always makes me think of a song from my childhood. I discovered Psalty the Singing Songbook when I was still in elementary school. I used to listen with rapt attention to what are basically Christian musicals for kids. I wanted to be one of those kids! I wanted the courage to get up and sing in front of people. I used to totally jam to my record player in my room! Psalty had so many great songs that are with me to this day!
If you feel like your life is awfully shaky, and you don’t know how to start rebuilding, there is one place to start – love. Love is the answer to so many things. Love is absolutely world-changing. Love is an essential part of justice, a foundational part of peace. Love yourself; love those around you; love God.
Love is not easy. Love requires a commitment to see the good in others (even to see that good in YOU!) – to see God in each person (YOU, included!) – no matter how the other behaves (yup, YOU, too!). Loves asks for all we have.
Love is what led God to take on human flesh and dwell among us. Love is God-made-man born in a lowly stable to parents of humble birth (but of sterling character). Love is the message He brought in so many ways – Love your enemies; treat others the way you want to be treated; the two greatest commandments are love God and love your neighbor. Love is what brought God-made-man to the Cross, willing to die for each one of us, out of love for us – in spite of our messy, annoying, less-than-holy ways of being.
If God is love, and we are made in His image and called to be like Him, then we can do no better than to make love the foundation, the framing, the roof, the door, the whole substance of anything we build.