Carry the Word with you
First reading of the day:
Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7
You, LORD, are our father, our redeemer you are named forever. Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old. No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him. Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind. There is none who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to cling to you; for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.
Second reading of the day:
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Brothers and sisters: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gospel reading of the day:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
Reflection on the readings: Sometimes we just go through the motions of being alive. We have our routines which kill us with their endless repetition, routine that alter only with the variations in our endless chores. The need to earn money and make a living can force upon us soul-stealing work with choices that chip away at the edges of our moral sensibilities. There may be family members who are estranged from us to whom we don’t speak for years. Even our confession that we are Christians may mask lives desperately endured from day to day without hope of redemption or compassion for the lot of others in our hears. The demands of living in the world can make us, as Isaiah says, withered like leaves. It is grace though that causes us to recognize these pains and suffering of our daily existence. For in the knowledge of what afflicts us, the diagnosis of our dried up hearts, lies latent an invitation to something else. In the the recognition of our emptiness and pain is an implicit invitation to the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus says, “Be watchful! Be Alert,” he is not insisting simply that we be something in this hour that we are not. He is asking us to pay attention to what our condition is in this present moment. Advent is here, but the first task is not to arrive; the first task is to recognize where we are. For it is our hard hearts that God is even now extending the promise of fellowship with his Son.