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

December 16, 2016

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO [1]

3rd Friday of Advent
Isaiah 56: 1 – 3, 6 – 8; Ps 67; John 5: 33 – 36

It was St. Augustine who wrote, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” This restlessness he himself felt and we also experience is not something superficial. He is very clear that this restlessness is in our depths, our hearts, our deepest selves. Of ourselves, we cannot satisfy it no matter how much we try.

What causes this restless heart? I believe there is an answer in the last part of the reading from the prophet Isaiah. He wrote, “Thus says the Lord God who gathers the dispersed of Israel, others will I gather to Him besides those already gathered.”

Our God is the God who gathers, who draws people to Himself and it seems that He has involved the prophet in this action of love but ultimately the power, the love, the gathering is of God’s doing. And it is this divine gathering, drawing that alone satisfies the restless heart. Clearly, this human restlessness is hunger and thirst for God, therefore a most sacred reality. There are those who recognize and desire this grace and there are those who do not.

By God’s mercy we are among those who desire to be gathered to Him and the proof of that is this moment – this Holy Eucharist – it is God’s grace that has brought us here, that gathers us for the sole purpose of becoming more and more His in thought, in word, in deed. And so we gather in faith, in thanksgiving.

When we are graced with the Body and Blood of the Lord, the message of the Lord is, “With age old love I gather you, draw you to Myself” and in our “Amen” – our response is, Yes, Lord, I desire You!”

On one occasion, recorded in John’s Gospel, Jesus spoke of this gathering: “And when I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all to Myself. He said this to indicate the kind of death He would die.” (John 12: 32)

Our God, by His will, cannot not gather us to Himself so great is His love.