Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Sat. of First week of Advent. Lectionary 181: Isaiah
30:19-21.23-26. Psalm 147: 1-2.3-4.5-6. Matthew 9:35-10:1.6-8:
Pathos and hope well up in our hearts and minds by today’s readings.
Pathos deals with the experience of our feelings in times of hardship,pain,
or disappointment. It is directly related to the word for suffering
(pathien in Greek). We are all afflicted by such sufferings and some are
almost paralyzed by them day in and day out. The readings then give us the
other side of the pathos by offering us God’s gift of hope. The two words
may be in tension with one another, but the Scriptures unravel and loosen
the hold of one over the other. Jesus shows his pathos for the ailing
people of the land in which he was born; he has mercy on them and sees that
the harvest is so many that he beckons the disciples to help him in what he
is doing for the poor, the blind, the lame, the deaf, the marginal.
We are startled to see that Jesus’ focus is exclusively on his own people.
He realizes that one–even if he be the Messiah–can only do so much. He
does not micro-manage what he is doing; he delegates the curing, healing,
exorcizing to his disciples, the twelve men whom he has chosen to help with
the harvest. There is more that enough to do even in his own land for all
of his disciples and followers. After his death, a universal sending will
take place through the downpour of the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon the
apostles and Mary.
We sense the same tension in Isaiah between pathos and hope. The prophet
however is offering more of a hopeful vision than one of pathos. In the
Gosplel we are in need of God’s mercy. Jesus had pity upon them and us for
he was merciful. The psalm likewise has the same message. God heals the
wounds of his people and gives them great almost idyllic hope through
Isaiah and the Psalmist. Patience, waiting, and trusting are offered as a
way of coping while believing these things will come to be real and a time
of peace and prosperity will follow.We too join in these tensions of pathos
and hope allowing Jesus to unbind our wounds without his worrying about his
own sufferings. Thus he is the wounded healer.
How do we handle our problems, our worries, our ills? There is another
message to help us answer, namely, God promises that a voice will tell us
what to do. Is this the voice of our heart, mind, and soul? Or is it the
Holy Spirit within us? ” While from behind you, a voice shall sound in
your ears: “This is the way; walk in it.” It is both our voice of
conscience and discernment as well as that of the Holy Spirit. This voice
helps us to make good choices about helping Jesus in his healing mission to
all peoples. We are the hands of the wounded healer Jesus. He it is who
heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. The reign of God is at
hand. We sense the presence of the Lord and continue to cry out, Come ,
Lord Jesus, come. Maranatha.
Prayer: Lord, strengthen me to wait upon you with courage and faith. Let me
seek one thing: to dwell in your house all the days of my life and there
gaze upon your loveliness. Lord, cure my blindness that I might see your
beauty. Yes, Come, Lord Jesus, and let us see your face and we shall be
saved. Happy are all who long for your coming. May each of us be your
instrument in stirring these desires in our brothers and sisters. Amen.
(Fr. C. Stuhlmueller, C.P.P. )