Carry the Word with you
Tuesday of the First Week of Advent, Cycle 1
First reading of the day:
On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a Spirit of counsel and of strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.
On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.
Gospel reading of the day:
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “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. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Reflection on the readings: The season of Advent invites us to really reflect on what it is that we celebrate. The weeks of preparation for the day of Christmas can be harrowing. Traffic jams on the streets and long lines in the stores interfere with our plans and try our tempers. Our expectations, or the expectations of those we love, may be larger than our wallets. A world gone mad with consumption promotes a celebration without connection to the feast. Old fissures in relationships with members of the family may confront us in the seasonal reunions. Decorations, parties, lists, and expectations cause mounting anxieties. But the readings remind us that at the center of all of this maelstrom, there is Jesus. All of it is quite simple. It is he who is the shoot from the stump of Jesse and the signal of the nations, the one who many prophets and kings longed to see but did not, but he also who it is our privilege to ponder as many prophets and kings were not able.