December 2, 2022
by Gladyce Janky
Creighton University's Chaplain in Phoenix
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 179

Isaiah 29:17-24
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
Matthew 9:27-31

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As we have heard many times before, the writings of the Prophet Isaiah are to God’s people during a time when they strayed from the Covenant and were taken into captivity.  Isaiah initially admonished them to turn back to God.  Once they had succumbed to invading armies and lost everything, he offered them a vision of Hope that echoed through the centuries until it was brought to life in today’s Gospel with Jesus’ question, “Do you believe that I can do this?  (Mt 9:28).”

For a few moments, sit with me and imagine we are gathered with others listening to the Prophet tell us God’s promise of a better future (Is 29:17-24).  As you visualize each situation, consider how you want Jesus to “Have pity on us” (Mt. 9:27).  Then respond to His question, “Do you believe I can do this?”

Like God’s people from Isaiah’s time,  we walked for many days without food or shelter and very little water.  Sitting on the ground, we notice most of our companions are very young.   We have heard there are 68 million refugees worldwide, over half of whom are children.  What will happen next?  Will we be welcomed at this refugee center? 
               How do you want the Son of David to have pity on us?
               And, “Do you believe that I (Jesus) can do this?”

“Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be regarded as a forest!  (Is 29:17).”
We listen to the stories of others.  Some made this journey because of droughts that led to mass starvation.  Another person says climate change and rising oceans are causing food shortages
and the loss of ancestral homes around the planet.
How do you want the Son of David to have pity on us?
               And, “Do you believe that I (Jesus) can do this?”

“The deaf shall hear the words of a book; and out of the gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see (Is 29:18).”
A mother speaks up, “I came because my child is sick.   Does anyone know if there is a doctor here?”   
How do you want the Son of David to have pity on us?
               And, “Do you believe that I (Jesus) can do this?”

“The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.  For the tyrant will be no more.  (Is29:20-21).”
Another companion sobs as he tells us about the genocide happening in his country.  Homes were stolen, and families were killed, so others could access the natural resources while polluting the land and water.  He asks, “Who will give justice to my people?”  
How do you want the Son of David to have pity on us?
               And, “Do you believe that I (Jesus) can do this?”

What injustices do you hear Isaiah prophesying will end, and does today’s Gospel offer you a vision of Hope?    

May our Advent be a time to reflect, remember, and imagine how Christ’s coming will transform the world.  And may each of us confidently declare, “Yes, Lord, I believe you can do this.”    

Wait for the Lord with courage, be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.  PS 27:14

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