Tag Archives: Advent liturgy

Tuesday: 1st Week of Advent

A child stands atop Isaiah’s peaceable kingdom in Tuesday’s first reading at Mass:

“The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (Isaiah 11,1)

It takes a child to believe the astounding promises Isaiah makes. Adults, hardened by the experience of life, struggle with the prophet’s words. That’s why Advent invites us to become children, not physically, of course, but spiritually.

Become like little children. That’s what Jesus told his followers,  and he praised the childlike:

“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to the childlike.” Luke 10

Only the childlike believe in great promises.

What does being “childlike” mean? Here’s what St. Leo the Great said about Jesus’s teaching on spiritual childhood: To be a child means to be “free from crippling anxiety, to be forgetful of injuries, to be sociable and to keep wondering at all things.”

A little child in its mother’s arms has no worries. It’s a good place to be, free from anxieties and a mother’s voice promising all will be well. Advent brings that grace back  to us; a grace we can lose so easily.

Jesus experienced that grace in Mary’s arms. Herod’s soldiers, like Isaiah’s Assyrian armies, were on their way. It’s a poor place where he’s born, no room in the inn, but the Child in his mother’s arms has no fear. All will be well.

Injuries would come. The world can turn hostile. The promises may seem far away, but from infancy to his death, Jesus knew he was a child of God, his Father, in God’s caring hands and destined for God’s kingdom.

Look on us, O Lord, and grant us the spirit of the childlike.

Monday: 1st Week of Advent


Isaiah 2,1-5  All nations will come to this mountain

Matthew 8:5-11:  The Roman centurion at Capernaum.

In 8th century Jerusalem Isaiah makes glowing promises about the holy mountain, Jerusalem– all people will come there. At the same time,  Assyrian armies rumble into Palestine. “What are you talking about?” people say, “Can’t you see what’s at the door?”. But the prophet insists they will beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks and there will be no wars any more.

The prophet continues making outrageous promises. There will be a cloud by day and a fire by night over this holy mountain. The mountain’s moving, on an exodus of its own. Wonderful imagery for solid institutions, like churches and nations, that have been around for centuries. You’re still on the move, and God will guide you.

The Assyrians must have had the equivalent of the Roman centurions as the backbone of their armies. If you can get to them, you’ve got the army, military analysts would say. Powerful men, loyal soldiers. They could  tell their troops: “Lay down your swords and spears,” and it would be done.

The Roman centurion in today’s gospel comes humbly before Jesus. “Lord, I am not worthy that you come under my roof, but say the word and my servant will be healed.” He comes with a faith not found in Israel.

The Messiah will touch the proud and the strong. The centurion is one of them.


Saturday, 1st Week of Advent


Isaiah 30:19-21-23-26  God heals and gives an abundance of gifts.

Matthew 9:35; 10:1, 5, 6-8  Jesus pities the lost sheep and sends his disciples to cure, to raise the dead and give life.

Daily homily:


Isaiah was driven by a vision of God. Here’s a meditation by St. Anselm that leads us to God, whom we look for in this holy season:

“Get up, little one! For awhile put away what holds you. Put aside your busy thoughts. Lay down your burdens and what bothers you. Make way for God for a little while.

Go into your mind and stop thinking. Concentrate on God and thoughts that help you look for God. Close your door and look. Speak from the  heart. Speak to God: I seek your face; your face, Lord, I seek.

Come, Lord God, teach my heart where and how to seek you, where and how to find you.

Lord, if you are not here, then where are you? You are everywhere, so why don’t I see you here? You dwell in unapproachable light. So where is unapproachable light, or how shall I come to it? Who shall lead me to that light and into it, that I may see you in it? I have never seen you, O Lord, my God; I do not know your face.

I’m an exile far from you. What shall I do, anxious to love you, and so far from your presence? I want to see you and yet your face seems far away. I long to come to you and yet you dwell in a place inaccessible. I  want to find you, but I don’t know where. I desire to seek you, and I don’t know what you look like.

Lord, you are my God, and I have never seen you. You made me and renewed me and give me all  good things, and I have not yet met you. I was created to see you, and I have not yet done what I was made for.

How long,  Lord will you forget us; how long will you turn your face from us? When will you look upon us, and hear us? When will you enlighten our eyes that we may see your face?