< <  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

  > >

First Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
Mark 13:33-37

View Readings
Similar Reflections


"Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down!" —Isaiah 63:19

When we see gross injustices in our society, we cry out for God to intervene. When we see people literally getting away with murder, even of infants in the womb, we beg God to put a stop to our world's perversity and wickedness. We pray in desperation: "Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before You" (Is 63:19). We pray for the Lord to come accompanied by an earthquake or two. That ought to straighten out the sinners in our world.

The Lord has not answered our prayers for an intimidating, sin-stopping intervention. He will not answer this prayer until He appears "a second time not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him" (Heb 9:28). Instead of stopping our sins by quaking and shaking us up, the Lord decided to become human and die on the cross for us. He came in obscurity, simplicity, and humility. He came not to paralyze us by fear, but to love us into life. He will not usually stop our sins and then change our hearts. Instead, He prefers to stop our sins by changing our hearts. He usually works from inside out. He is not out to control us, but convert us. Therefore, Jesus allows terrible things to go on in our world, while He patiently calls us to receive His love and to love Him.

Prayer:  Father, don't rend the heavens, but give me the grace to rend my heart in repentance (see Jl 2:13).

Promise:  "Do not let Him come suddenly and catch you asleep. What I say to you, I say to all: Be on guard!" —Mk 13:36-37

Praise:  O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel! Come, Christ the King. You are worthy of all our praise!

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Sacred Heart on audio AV 19-1 or video V-19.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Bishop-Elect, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 26, 2011 (for 10-1-2011 through 11-29-2011) and May 26, 2011 (for 11-30-2011)

The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.