- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

December 1, 2015

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO [1]

1st Tuesday of Advent
Isaiah 11: 1 – 10; Ps 72; Luke 10: 21 – 24

Jesus’ words are an important teaching to us who desire to hear God’s word. It is the wise and the learned, that is, those taken up with their own importance, who cannot be true hearers. They limit themselves by not being  open to God’s word. It is only the childlike who are marked by openness, by trust, by the desire to hear and receive and obey. It is the childlike who recognize and accept the grace of God.

Jesus Himself is perfectly childlike; His whole life is one of trust, of openness, of passionate desire. We hear it in His words, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father”…those two words “My Father” reveals the heart of the Son.

Surely, the prophet Isaiah, the great voice of this holy season of Advent is numbered among the childlike. He recounts his awesome experience of the majesty of the Lord in Chapter 6, of his experience of being unclean, of God’s purifying action and then, of his willingness to be a messenger to God’s people. If that is not true child likeness, then nothing is.

Isaiah, by his own life, stands as an icon for us who are men and women of belief, men and women who seek and desire God’s word so as to be transformed more and more into His sons and daughters in Christ. The journey of conversion is always one of “from”…to “to” – the journey from self-absorption in all its forms to God-absorption. The journey, in Jesus own words, is to be among those “to whom the Son wishes to reveal” the Father.

This revelation exceeds information; this revelation of the Father is communion, intimacy, the beginning of Eternal Life. And our God desires this for us with a desire that surpasses our comprehension.

In the prophecy about the coming Messiah, “the shoot from the stump of Jesse”, Isaiah says of Him: “…and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” The word “delight” stands out because it denotes allurement, pleasure, joy. Fear of the Lord, that phrase that sums up a relationship of ardent love, faith-filled obedience, dedicated service, is not presented as duty offered to God, rather as delight received from God Himself. Jesus was filled with this delight, “Father, I give You praise, Lord of heaven and earth!” Isaiah knew this delight, too and it carried him through his life.

May we, who truly seek the Lord and have come to know Him in our hearts, continue to be drawn on with such delight. May each one of us be able to say with ever growing gratitude “and my delight is the fear of the Lord.”