Isaiah 35 : 1-10 “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers…Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy…”
Psalm 85:9ab and 10, 11-12,13-14 “The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps.”
Luke 5: 17-26 “…When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘As for you, your sins are forgiven.’...”
Memorial St. Sabas – 439-532 A.D., born in Cappadocia (modern day Turkey) is known for being one of the founders of Eastern monasticism, seeking out time for prayer and long periods of solitude early in his life. He was mentored by St. Euthymius, also an early Church monastic. He traveled preaching throughout Palestine and Jerusalem. His Eastern Orthodox order at the monastery Mar Saba in Jerusalem now holds his precious relics.
In reflecting on the first reading from Isaiah today, a week into Advent, I couldn’t help but remember the homily I heard on that first Sunday when the Advent season began. Fr. Val Peter suggested we pray daily through Advent asking to “increase our longing for You O Lord”. He suggested we look around and notice our surroundings, see God’s handprint in our world and in our universe. No matter the season, God’s beauty is everywhere. Here in our winter months we have been enjoying the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets lately. As I read Isaiah’s beautiful description of a desert in bloom, it reminded me immediately of the signs of God’s hand on our world. Let this awareness be a signal to pray daily and often helping us to prepare for the coming of Jesus.
Using an awareness of God’s creation gives us concrete images in our daily life to help draw us back to God and thus to a conversation with Him. I began to see the advent wreath differently too, no longer as a seasonal decoration, but as a reminder to pray. So, I pulled out my advent wreath with new intention this year. Isaiah’s words encourage us towards this relationship with our maker. “A highway will be there, called the holy way…It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk”. (Isaiah 35:8,9)
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus notes the faith of the men who took great lengths to place their stretcher laid friend in front of Jesus. Jesus had been speaking to the Pharisees and teachers of the Jewish law; and as he told the man placed in front of him that his sins were forgiven, he also read the hearts of the others who had been listening to him. The Pharisees could not accept that a mere man was forgiving sins, only God can forgive sins. The paralyzed man did as Jesus said and stood up and went home, and everyone was amazed at what they saw.
May we all be amazed at what we see this day, this week, as we look around at God’s creation, including ourselves, and we realize the wonder of God anew, and that was Fr. Val’s second point. His third point - get ready: God is going to send his Son to become Man; get ready, get ready. Happy Advent.
Our God will come to save us!
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook