An Advent question: “Has the word of the Lord come to you?”
God continues to communicate with us. During Advent we are again invited to deepen our prayer life. We are to act on God’s message and share it with others.
Jesus is God’s word; Jesus is the one spoken by the Father. And it is through Jesus, the child of Mary born in Bethlehem, that our sins are forgiven and the finality of death has been overcome. Advent is the liturgical season in which we are reminded time and time again that Jesus came, that Jesus is here in the present moment, and Jesus will come tomorrow and down through the ages.
The word of God came to St. Paul. This apostle to the Gentiles was a good listener. Paul took God’s word and shared it through his preaching and letter writing. The central message of Paul is the person of Jesus. To the Philippians, St. Paul writes of the righteousness that comes through Jesus. In Christ, our relationship with God has been healed. Thus, Paul prays that the Philippians might be given the grace of love, knowledge and discernment in order that they too might complete the good work the Lord has given them to do.
The word of God came to the prophet Baruch. And what was the word? “Glory!” In just nine verses, Baruch used the word “glory” five times. God was telling the prophet that the divine splendor and radiance is at hand. That radiance is made visible when the cloak of justice is worn by the people and the garments of mercy dress the soul. And where justice and mercy abound there will be joy and glory and exaltation.
What is lurking behind and within the words of St. Paul and Baruch is the mystery of God and God’s love for us. So extravagant was that love that it had to break forth in speech, indeed, in flesh. God’s word has come to us, is coming, and will come again. Our Advent task is to “out ourselves in the way of the gift.” If we do so, glory will once again break out in our land and valley will be filled, mountains and hill brought low, rough way made smooth, and the human heart will experience the salvation of God.
Questions for reflection
1. How does the word of God come to you?
2. Comment on: “The irreversibility of the word, once it has been said, haunts many cultures and sensibilities” (George Steiner).
Bishop Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.