Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary 179: Isaiah 26:1-6. Psalm 118:1.8-9.19-21.25-27.
Jerusalem looms high in the Bible both in the readings from Isaiah during
this Advent and in the Gospels. We know well that it is central as a point
of departure and return for Luke-Acts. Some say that the geography that
surrounds it and itself is like a fifth gospel. Jerusalem is also featured
in the most eschatological book of the New Testament, the Book of
Revelation. It is a reflection of the heavenly Jerusalem that is so
beautifully described in the last chapters of Revelation. It is a powerful
symbol for our meditations despite the present day turmoil. Associated
with the Land, the Isaeli people cherish it as a precious gem and somehow
God protects it despite all that is happening in and around it. As John's
Gospel tells us, "Salvation is from the Jews." Salvation is also the
meaning of Jesus' name!
By trusting in God and with faith of the heart helps us to understand that
God is our rock and our refuge. We encounter the Presence of God within the
walls of Jerusalem and within our sacred places like chapels, churches,
shrines, mosques, and synagogues. They are spaces where we do pray and are
led even to contemplation. We learn the meaning of the Psalm for today
when it sings out, "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust
in princes." (Psalm 118).
Like Jerusalem the words of Jesus are very important for our faith and our
union with our Creator and Redeemer. They are inspired words given to us
through the Spirit as well as through the mouth of Jesus.Again, the lesson
is simple if we are to understand the word(s) of God: we are to do God's
will. How? Again back to the ten commandments and their positive
explanation. We should love to do and obey them. Then our prayer, "Lord,
Lord," will be heard and answered.
We are intent during this Advent season to really receive the word of God
and to take it to heart through faith of the heart. (See Romans 10). The
heart represents and symbolizes in biblical language the whole person, the
integrated one, the one doing the will of God. We love God with all our
heart, our mind, and our soul. (Deuteronomy 6). We hear in the Invitatory
Psalm : "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts." (Psalm 95).
St. Bernard tells us there are three comings of Jesus Christ. The middle
one is like a road that leads from the first coming to the final coming of
the Lord. We know Christ now through his presence within us in word and
sacrament and through the indwelling of the Spirit. Bernard continues,
"Keep God's word in this way. Let it enter into your very being; let it
take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on
goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat
your bread or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and
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