We have some themes going in the Scriptures today that might make you very happy—such as Isaiah’s very first word: “Comfort!” The word itself is soothing, as in “comfort food.” Well, today Isaiah brings out the comfort food for the soul. “Comfort, console my people,” says God, because the punishments the Israelites received for being unfaithful to God are finally over. Today, as we get closer to the coming of Jesus, Isaiah’s theme is: “Clear a pathway through the desert—even out the rough places—and shout it out: Your God is here!”
How are we doing at cleaning up the wilderness of our hearts for the Lord God to enter in? Many times, our hearts can feel as numb and empty as a wilderness—maybe we just hear an echo, as if we’re praying in a void. At other times, we feel so choked with the injustice and cruelty in the world that we don’t realize our hearts are like weed-infested gardens that desperately need clearing out. So it is when John pours water over the baptized at the River Jordan. Their eyes were opened, and they see new hope for their futures. They are so eager to clear out the dirt and weeds of their old lives, that they begin to pour out their sins, repenting, and become eager to change.
What is your idea of repentance? Remember that Isaiah says, “Jesus is like a shepherd…gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast…” Don’t we all feel better when someone we’ve hurt wraps their arms around us and says, “It’s okay—it’s forgotten?” The Sacrament of Reconciliation offers that comfort in the name of Jesus. And when we ask to be changed, Jesus calls us to return to new life by receiving him into our hearts in Communion. Now, THAT’S comfort food.
A PRAYER FOR ADVENT
“Look on us, Jesus and let all the darkness of our souls disappear from the beams of your brightness. Fill us with your holy love, and open to us the treasures of your wisdom. You know all our desires, so bring to perfection what you have started, and what the Holy Spirit has weakened us to ask in prayer. We seek your face, turn your face to us, and show us your glory. Then our longing will be satisfied and our peace will be perfect. Amen” (St. Augustine).
Let us prayer for one another and for our parish family during this Advent season and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
Listen to my Homily at Mass today:
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish