Saturday, 1st Week of Advent

The readings for the 1st week of Advent end today with Jesus going “to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.” His heart goes out to them.

And his heart goes out to us.

The towns and villages of Galilee will not be the last places Jesus goes. He looks for others to join him as God’s harvest goes on, and he empowers them. It’s God’s harvest, first of all. Jesus, the Son of God, is still the Son he sends. And we are called to go out for the hours we can. ( Matthew 9:35ff) 

As we end this first week of Advent, I’m grateful to those who skillfully provided us with the lectionary readings and prayers for this season after the 2nd Vatican Council. It just didn’t happen. Prayerful hands, steeped in the scriptures and the liturgy, humbly serving the church, gave them to us. May they be blessed.

I hope the liturgy, its readings and prayers, will be a treasure we grow to appreciate more and more. It forms us in our faith and tells us how to live. A renewed liturgy and a renewed understanding of the scriptures were goals of the 2nd Vatican Council. Still waiting to be fulfilled, by the way. I found this quote from Pius XI appropriate:

“For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year – in fact, forever. The church’s teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man’s nature” (Encyclical Quas primas, 11 December 1925).”

Isaiah’s promise of a holy mountain will be fulfilled, our readings today say. The Messianic times arrive with the coming of Jesus Christ. In our first reading today, Isaiah renews the promise of a holy mountain to exiles, like us.  

Isaiah Promises…

On this mountain,

Yahweh will prepare for you

a banquet rich in goodness.

On this mountain,

Yahweh will remove

the veil of darkness

covering God’s people.

Death will be destroyed,

you shall weep no more.

You shall rejoice in your God

on this mountain.    (Isaiah 25:6-9)

Gloria Ziemienski December 1982

 Here’s a music version of “On that Holy Mountain”

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