3rd Week of Advent, Wednesday, Dec 16

 Isaiah 45:6-8, 18, 21-26 / Luke 7:19-23

Isaiah prophesies: Turn to me and be saved.


In Springfield, Illinois, February 11, 1861, dawned cold and rainy. But the weather didn’t keep the crowds from lining the streets of that town. They cheered as President-elect Lincoln passed on his way to the railroad station.

At the station, Lincoln mounted the steps of the train’s observation platform. Then he turned and addressed the crowd: “I now leave you. . . .Without the assistance [that comes from God] I cannot succeed. To his care commending you, as I hope in my prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.” The kind of trust Lincoln had in God’s help demonstrates the kind of trust God invites all of us to have in his providence, especially on the threshold of his Son’s coming.


What keeps us from a greater trust in God? Those who abandon themselves to God will never be abandoned by him.


People and events are agents of salvation: heaven and earth cooperate, but ultimately it is God who saves through people. In the first reading, through the prophet, God addresses Cyrus the Great, who let the Jews return from exile. He was an instrument of God to bring liberation to the Jews. Also, pagans are called to salvation.


When he is asked by the disciples of John whether he was the expected Messiah or whether they had to wait for someone else, Jesus reminds them of what the prophets had foretold about the Messiah and to look at what Jesus was doing. He restored the sight of the blind, made the deaf hear, cured lepers and proclaimed the good news of the kingdom to those poor in any way. Was that not a sufficient answer?


The season of Advent has a dual spiritual purpose. It is a time of preparation for the celebration of the Lord's birth. And it is also a time of waiting for that joyful day to come. This preparation and waiting also focuses on the second coming of Christ when all would be made new and our hope would be fulfilled with rejoicing. Yet in this season of Advent, the commercialization of the festive season with its busyness of material preparation often takes the focus away from the spiritual dimension. So the question that the disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus is also a good question for our reflection for the season.


Is Jesus the one whom we are preparing and waiting for, or are we waiting for someone or something else? The first line of the 1st reading gives us a strong reminder - Apart from Me, all is nothing. Yes, apart from Jesus, this season with all its festivities and merry-making would be empty and mean nothing. May we not lose focus nor the faith in Jesus in this season of preparation and waiting.


Opening Prayer

Lord our God, in your concern for people you want all to be saved. We pray you today that we may be ready to receive you,

your justice and your peace, and that in your hands we may be eager instruments to share your integrity and love with all willing to listen. We ask you this through Christ our Lord.