Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday in the 2nd Week of Advent
Memorial of St. Lucy, Virgin & Martyr
Coming to the One who Comes

Readings: Isaiah 40:25-31; Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 and 10; Matthew 11:28-30

Perhaps a natural initial reaction to our readings today is one of consolation. Especially because for the most part we are a nation of the tired and the stressed out, a people who wear the yoke of numerous daily responsibilities and emotional burdens, God’s word must surely resonate within us. Who among us will not find consolation in the Lord’s promise to give us rest, to raise us up on eagles’ wings?

Yet, if we were to linger a little longer with our readings, another reaction might be evoked in us, that of puzzlement. In this season of Advent, when we await the coming of the Lord, how is it that the one for whom we are waiting seems to be waiting for us instead? Come to me, all you who labour… Who is actually waiting for whom? And how is it that Jesus can claim that his yoke is easy and… burden light? Doesn’t he expect more of his disciples than what is prescribed by the Law of Moses? Doesn’t he expect us, for example, even to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? Doesn’t he encourage us not only to be pure in deeds but also in thought and intentions as well?

Rather than discourage us this puzzlement offers us an invaluable opportunity to enter more deeply into the mystery we celebrate. Our willingness to grapple with these questions enables us to experience a third reaction to God’s word, that of enlightenment. Indeed, as we proclaimed in our gospel acclamation today, our Lord will come with power and will enlighten the eyes of his servants. And in what does this enlightenment consist if not in the realization of how Jesus saves. More than through his teaching and healing and working of wondrous miracles of power, important as these are, the Lord saves primarily by offering to us the hand of friendship. We may recall, for example, how Jesus leads his disciples on a journey and then asks them, but who do you say I am? (Mark 8:28). Or how can we forget what Jesus says to his disciples before his passion (John 15:15): I call you friends…; or his questions to Peter after his resurrection (John 21:15): do you love me…?

Truly, the enlightenment we seek is an invitation to allow ourselves to enter into and deepen our loving relationship with the One who comes among us to save us. Why does Jesus call us to come to him even as we await his coming? Is it not because true love does not force itself on the beloved? And why does Jesus say that his yoke is easy even when the expectations seem difficult to meet? Is it not because love is a power able to overcome all obstacles?

The One whom we await, the One who comes to lift us up on eagles wings, is already among us. How might we come to him? How might we accept his hand of friendship today?

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