Scripture: Lectionary 183. Dec.10. Isaish 40:1-11. Psalm 96:1-2,3,10,11-12,13. Matthew 18:12-14.
Comfort! Comfort! My people. These words of God are given to us by the great prophet of Advent who guides us through this season of patience, hope, and pondering. Today the proclamation he announces is almost a synopsis of salvation history in a literary and poetic mode which makes it all the easier for us to think about during this Advent time. Anyone who reads this passage should be elated, comforted, and filled with hope. It is a universal message from the greatest of the prophets and priest, a prince, and a prophet named Isaiah.
It leads me to think the Evangelists may have read and reread, prayed and thought about this as they started their first chapters of their respective Gospels. They then bring the Good News of God’s kingdom among all peoples and nations, races, and languages. For us as Christians this means the Good News that through the birth of a baby named Jesus we will live out our own salvation imitating and conforming ourselves to him as did the great St. Paul.
The Evangelists seem to be described in our first reading when we hear or read: “Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God!”
In our Gospel Jesus comforts us with the image he has of a good shepherd searching after one lost sheep trusting that the flock will carry on for he has always been there for them. A new twist is also given in the fact that he mentions the concern he has for each and every child. He does not want any child to be harmed or lost for such is the kingdom of God. If we really want to enter into this period of Advent we are called to be like children. They are humble, they have a sense of wonder, and they trust in the one who loves them as Jesus does. Jesus cares for them and searches for them and for us whenever we wander away from his arms and his sight.
Psalm 96 helps us join in with the spirit of Isaiah as we listen to its words: “Sing a new song to the Lord; we bless you name, O Lord, We announce your salvation day after day.”
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.