Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday: First Week of Advent 2009

Then cleansed be ev'ry heart from sin,
Make straight the way of God within;
O let us all our hearts prepare
For Christ to come and enter there.
(The Liturgy of the Hours, Volume 1, page 121)

As I was slowly reading the words of the gospel (Mt 15:29-37), I was suddenly aware, perhaps in a way like never before, that I was listening to the very tender, loving voice of Jesus Christ. It was as if I were sitting there with the mountain-side crowd.

After coming back to the world around me, I wondered what this insight from the Holy Spirit might have to do with Advent. Surely I realized again I was experiencing the grace of abundance. Not only was I participating in a watch of what Jesus was doing -- curing those with serious physical maladies as well as providing a meal for those around him. I was also hearing and sensing the sensitivity of the God-man whose birthday we celebrate in just under four weeks.

We are invited during this and every Advent season to stop and listen not only to homilies, religiously-based Christmas carols or many stories that grasp our hearts but especially to the words Jesus speaks. How much more meaningful will the celebration of his birth will give to me on December 24 when I celebrate Mass because his words on the mountainside so captured my heart and soul. There with those who must have had hearts so stuffed with hopes of healing, I experienced the tender concern of the Son of God.

So, if you can, read the gospel -- slowly -- and remember you are not simply reading an evangelist's words. You are hearing the spoken words of Jesus Christ! Is there any wonder, then, that the bible is such a sacred book?