2nd Saturday of Advent;
Sirach 48:1-4,9-11; Ps 80; Matthew 17:10-13
For us, people of faith, this holy season of Advent is marked as a time of longing, of desire and of expectation. Therefore, it is not a time, a season outside of us, something determined by Church calendar. Advent expresses, reflects the longing, the expectation abiding in our hearts. And so, it is a very personal, sacred time of grace.
Tomorrow and continuing until December 23rd, we will chant the great “O” antiphons at Vespers – “O Wisdom”, “O Key of David”, “O Emmanuel” and in each of the seven antiphons we give voice to our desire with an invitation, actually a command: “O Come, O Come to teach, to redeem, to save us!
This desire, ardent longing is found throughout the Responsorial Psalm 80 of this Mass: “O shepherd of Israel…hearken…shine forth…rouse your power…look down from heaven and see…protect what your right hand has planted.” This is prayer resonating in our depths.
All people long for God, desire the Lord’s presence, love, compassionate mercy and by grace many embrace and live this and, sad to say, through ignorance or whatever, there are many who are unaware or uncaring and are taken up with what is less and even destructive. The desire is there but buried, like a seed in dry ground you might say.
This desire in our hearts is a gift of God planted in us from our conception, a seed that needs to be nurtured. There is a saying: “You cannot give what you do not have.” Since God gives this gift then desire must also exist in God. Did not God’s desire to share His life precede creation? Did not God’s desire to have a people as His own precede the call of Abraham? Did not God’s desire for our eternal life precede the Incarnation of the Son of God? Did not Jesus’ desire to give Himself uniquely to you, to me precede the institution of the Holy Eucharist?
The Holy Eucharist proclaims clearly God’s desire for you, for me and it teaches, as well, that desire is meant to be lived, to be seen, to be heard. In our reception of the Holy Eucharist, God speaks, “I desire you” and we, in turn, profess, “I desire You!” That this desire color, permeate, transform our lives is what our faith life is about!