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

December 11, 2015

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

2nd Friday of Advent
Isaiah 48:17-19; Matthew 11:16-19

As He opened the Holy Door, Pope Francis prayed: “[O God] Continue to pour out on us your Holy Spirit, that we might never tire of turning with trust to the gaze of him who we have pierced, your Son made man, the shining face of your endless mercy, the safe refuge for all of us sinners in need of pardon and peace, of the truth that frees and saves.”

Whenever God invites someone to follow Him, He gives them tools – grace — for success. By His grace The Holy One leads His people in the way of deliverance, but we must be willing to surrender to His will. God rewarded His people’s fidelity by blessing them with peace and freedom from captivity. Those who have been in exile will know the joy of coming home. God’s pledge to us is made tangible in the Incarnation of the Word from Whom flows every blessing.

God’s Word is directed to anyone who is willing to receive it and put it into practice. The Word-Made-Flesh is seen as a man, totally submissive to the will of His heavenly Father. As the God-Man He lives in our midst as our Mediator and Redeemer. The apostle Thomas was right when he acknowledged Jesus as “my Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28). As the shepherd of our souls Christ leads us to lush pastures and as Lord of Lords, He invites us to the Banquet of Life. He shows us the marks of love in his hands and takes us by the hand encouraging us to follow in His steps. It is not enough to hear the invitation, we must respond if we desire to be saved.

As servants of the Word made Flesh, we are invited to enter into dialogue with the Word of Life and allow that Word to echo throughout our being. Because that Word is living and active, it can and will recreate us, if we allow it. It is sad to think that we can act like the children in Jesus parable. We can quarrel with the movements of God on our behalf and refuse to dance and sing in accord with His promptings. O that we were responsive to the promptings of God’s grace. The doors of Mercy have been thrown open, will we cross the threshold? Salvation and forgiveness require a response on our part. It is not enough to listen to the Word, we must surrender to its message and participate in the building up of the Kingdom.

God has revealed His plan of salvation to the whole world. The Good News has been proclaimed from age to age. It remains for us to hear and surrender. The just man will be judged by his actions. I will close with a stanza of my favorite poem written by John Henry Newman — The Pillar of the Cloud.

LEAD, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom

          Lead Thou me on!

The night is dark, and I am far from home—

          Lead Thou me on!

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene—one step enough for me.