December 9, 2022
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
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Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 185

Isaiah 48:17-19
1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

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I gave a test recently, and some of the students did not perform very well. I know they won’t be happy with their test grades, and I feel bad about the situation. I think they should have read the text, they should have paid attention to the lecture, they should have looked at the syllabus. But they didn’t, and their test scores reflect that. If only they’d read the text more carefully, they could have answered that question. If they’d listened and taken notes on the class discussion they would have understood the concept. I try to teach what they will need. I show them where to find the information. I want them to understand the readings. I want them to learn the information.  I want them to get good grades. But I can’t make them. I can’t cram the information into their heads. They make their own choices about whether to come to class, how much to study, whether to do their homework. If only they would listen to me, they would have success in this class.

The readings for today put me in the mind of my students who didn’t study enough. Yahweh says he wants to teach us for our own good. He wants to lead us in the right way. He says to the people, “If only you had listened to my commandments! Your prosperity would have been like a river and your saving justice like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been numbered like the sand, your offspring as many as its grains.” God teaches us the right way, gives us the commandments as the path to follow. Wants us to prosper, wants us to learn. If we follow the right path, our success will be assured. If we follow God we will be like the tall healthy tree, but if we don’t we will be like the chaff. In the Gospel Jesus reiterates that the foundation is given us, but we have to accept it. We are given the joyful music, but we have to dance. We are given the syllabus, and we have to do our homework. We have to follow the commandments.  But he can’t physically make us. If only we follow the commandments we will have the spiritual life we should, and we will have our reward in heaven.

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