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

December 20, 2017

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

3rd Wednesday of  Advent
Isaiah 7:10-14; Luke 1:26-38

God knew the desperate situation of His people and desired to deliver them. However, if they wanted Him to deliver them from all that threatened them, they would have to trust God, and believe that He was capable of saving them. This is a real challenge for people who have been trained to be self-reliant and self-assertive. Like Ahaz of old, the prophet Isaiah reproves us for having such little regard for God’s fidelity to His revealed promise.

The lesson for us is that our disbelief does not make God’s promise ineffective, because God’s arm is not too short to save nor is His ear too deaf to hear our call (Cf. Is. 59:1). In the midst of our distress, the virgin’s child will be our peace. The child to be born in the dark Bethlehem plain will be the Light of the World. The child, heralded by the angels will stretch out His arms to all the children of Adam so that they might come to know the joy of love’s embrace. It remains for us to trust in Him and to love Him in return.

“O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!” Like King Ahaz, we find ourselves trapped in our own self-deception, unable to find our way out of our misery and confusion. By God’s grace, we can finally admit that we are powerless to free ourselves from what holds us in bondage. As Isaiah promised the king, so he speaks a word of hope to us. God Himself will break down the walls of our prison. What He breaks down, no one shall rebuild (Cf. Is. 22:22). In this knowledge, we can confidently surrender ourselves to the love and car of the God who calls us. We can make the words of the maiden of Nazareth our own. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38).

O Key of David,

and Scepter of the House of Israel, 
who opens and no one shuts, 
who shuts and no one opens:

Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, 
he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.