Second Thursday of Advent
PS 145: 1 AND 9, 10-11, 12-13 AB
There are some readings from the Bible that just move the soul, that set it aflame with a strong inherent knowing that the Lord is here, He loves us and is yearning for us. God is Love, and thus naturally longs to have an intimate relationship with us through prayer, the sacraments and others. We feel this and know this, at some points more so than others. But then we read a passage such as the first reading today (Isaiah 41: 13-20) and come across this line in verse 14: “Fear not, O worm Jacob, O maggot Israel; I will help you, says the LORD; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.”
Maggots? Worms? But Lord, I thought you loved us?! But this is exactly the point that God wants to make with us. “The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and of great kindness.” He loves us so much that, even if we were measly, helpless, spineless worms, he would lift us up. Love Himself would transform us into a state-of-the-art, speedy, shiny new sleigh, one that cuts through snow and ice and storm like a knife through butter.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The Lord will cease at no expense to share His infinite mercy and kindness with us. He has promised to completely fulfill us… and then fill us some more. Parched with thirst, God will not only give us a glass of water but will create rivers and fountains, marshlands and springs for us – what a generous and amiable Father we have! And He doesn’t bestow these blessings on one group at a time, allowing them to trickle down to each individual member. He comes to YOU first, and showers YOU with all these gifts. “God loves all of us as if there was only one of us” as St. Augustine said.
Jesus knows how to romanticize us with these words and promises that hold so much Love and Truth. He is the Savior, the world’s Emmanuel, and He is also our best friend. He knows us better than anyone else, and comes to each individual in the exact way that he/she needs a friend. Despite our failings, despite our lacking love at times, despite our forgetfulness, Jesus is always present. In fact, He comes to us. In the joy. In the suffering. In the silence.
In the Gospel today, Jesus tells us “…there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” He pursues us constantly because He loves us, but also because He wants to show us our worth. Yes, YOU are worth the Son of God’s time, attention, unconditional love and protection. Sure, we mess up because we’re human. But our sins can never diminish the strength of Jesus’ love for us and it can never exhaust the ocean of His infinite mercy.
Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation, of awaiting the “Holy One of Israel”. The good news is that we know our Savior will come. Our longing will be met by the incarnation of Love, and He will fulfill us to the ends of the earth if we allow Him. How much louder and more spirited should our song be when we sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!”
Erin Canning is a senior majoring in Biomedical Engineering.