Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thursday: First Week of Advent 2009

Wake, awake, the night is dying,
And prophets from of old are crying:
Awake, ye children of the light!
Lo, the Dawn shall banish sadness,
The Rising Sun shall bring us gladness,
And all the blind shall see aright.
(The Liturgy of the Hours, Vol 1, page 125)

On Tuesday evening President Obama expressed to the entire world his vision, his plan, for bringing an end to the American war in Afghanistan. Throughout the previous month and particularly for the next several days, the news media and the pundits will shape for us and the world their interpretation of the President's messages about Afghanistan as well as the special meeting to address the lack of jobs in the most advanced nation in the world.

We who daily recognize and experience pain and frustration because there has been the loss of so many jobs, because our younger Americans daily walk in harm's way on two war-fronts, some never to return home alive, because we personally or in the lives of family members or friends see some aspects of an inefficient health program, because many cannot afford or suddenly lose health insurance, we must be questioning the care and concern God has for us and has seemingly given up.

In these days of Advent, perhaps our limited personal funds may be creating more time to consider the place of God in our personal and national lives. The author of Isaiah 26:1-6, today's first reading at the Eucharistic liturgy, may open the minds and hearts of those willing to continues their trust in God.

But during these days of crisis perhaps, just perhaps, we, as a people, might begin to sense that it is a terrible experience of greed that has brought us to our current discomfort and pain. Why else would a loving, caring God, humble "those in high places, and the lofty city he brings down"?

Preparing for Christmas should be more than presents and parties, shopping and extravagances. Preparing for the birth of the Son of God should bring us to an effort to purify our hearts and soul.

Hear the word of the Lord, all you nations
Proclaim it to the ends of the earth.