God Prepares the Way
Guide: The Promise
The early pages of Jesus’ photo album show us God’s patient and faithful preparation to send Jesus among us. We find the photo of God calling Abram and Sarai to leave their homeland to begin a new journey. There are the births of Isaac and Jacob/Israel. The album has page after page of photos of the long slavery in Egypt, of Moses’s birth and life, the Exodus and liberation, the forty years of wandering in the desert, and the early years in the Promised Land. From desert nomads to a people with a covenant: you be my people and I will be your God.
God sent judges to adjudicate differences between the people and then God appointed kings to rule them and then prophets to challenge them and their corrupt kings. As with any family photo album, we are puzzled and perhaps shocked to see the incredible infidelity of the people, the division of the nation, and its demise in the Babylonian captivity. Then there is the rebuilding of the temple and those final years of occupation and relative peace that came with Rome’s occupation.
There is an Advent feel to this week of the retreat. In our growing desire to know, love, and be with Jesus, we are taken back to the years of anticipation. There’s the promise of a land, of a king, of an everlasting kingdom. The prophets speak of what it will be like when “the day of the Lord” comes. This all tells us so much about the mission of Jesus. It will help us understand the confused expectations he will face, the rejection he will encounter, the paradoxical way he will fulfill those promises.
This week we let our minds and hearts listen to the story that prepared the way for Jesus to enter into our world and our lives. As lovers, we want to know everything about Jesus. Looking through all those early photos, we appreciate, perhaps as never before, God’s fidelity and the enormous mission that Jesus was born to take up.
Throughout the background times this week, we reflect on whatever comes to our hearts. How much more do we understand who he is? How is our love growing? What do we feel drawn to express to the one who is showing us his incredible photo album?
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Photos by Don Doll, S.J.
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