2nd Thursday of Advent
Isaiah 41: 13 – 20; Ps 145; Matthew 11: 11 – 15
When Isaiah’s audience heard themselves being called “O worm Jacob” “O maggot Israel” – one can imagine that they were not pleased. These certainly are not terms of endearment, of affection – yet very descriptive of the peoples’ failure in living their covenant with God.
Like a worm burrowing into the soil – fleeing from the light so Israel sought darkness rather than the Divine Light. Like a maggot feasting on decaying matter so Israel feasted on untruth, delighted in falsehood, yielded to idolatry. Yet, God in His mercy calls them to face this reality so to bring them to repentance, to bring them back to Him. He is grasping Israel, with passion embracing His people as they are so to bring them to what they were called to be – His people.
This passage, of course, calls us to examine our own covenant with the Lord. How am I living my Baptismal, my Monastic covenant? Do I find myself running from the Light or seeking Him? Do I find myself feasting on what doers not satisfy, cannot satisfy rather than feasting on the Word? Excuses more than commitment? Rationalizations more than truth?
“God is good to all, compassionate to all” – this truth was proclaimed in the responsorial psalm of the Mass – Ps 145. In the course of the reading from Isaiah God makes 8 promises flowing from His compassionate love – all 8 proclaim His deliberate will to grant mercy, abundant grace, newness of life – in a word, salvation. Our God is always faithful even when His people, even when we are not.
At the beginning of Vigils we acknowledged this extravagant grace, this Divine reality with a prayer, actually a plea: “Let us adore the Lord, the King who is to come!” May this adoration be on our lips and deep in our hearts with growing sincerity, with profound conviction, with unlimited love. His faithfulness to us deserves nothing less.