Father David's Reflection for the First Monday of Advent
The Responsorial Psalm is a key to the readings: “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122).
We rejoice because Isaiah 4:2-6 tells us that through the gift of Jesus “the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious…. and whoever… remains in Jerusalem will be called holy.” The Church may be going through difficult days. The world may be torn by divisions and conflict. But those who attach themselves to Jesus Christ will find joy in life, even in the midst of suffering, and arrive at the fulfillment Jesus promises: “life to the full” (John 10:10). Nothing can prevent this. Nothing can take it away from us so long as we remain “in Christ,” interacting with him in his Church, the New Jerusalem, who is being “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). This is a promise: God’s promise of fulfillment through Jesus Christ.
But we have to “go… to the house of the Lord.” In Matthew 8:5-11 the centurion had to approach Jesus. Jesus healed his servant only after the centurion interacted with him. We need to ask for Jesus’ help and also interact with him in every area of our lives in order to bring that area of our lives to fulfillment.
Isn’t it true that for most of us there are areas of life in which we feel unfulfilled— not because we aren’t doing what we should, and doing it fairly successfully, but because something is lacking; something is leaving us unsatisfied?
It may be that our own faults or the faults of others keep us from being as happy as we want. Perhaps something in us is “lying… paralyzed,” or even “in terrible distress.” Or it may be just that, on a level deeper than ordinary human interaction and higher than normal human expectations, our hearts may be feeling a call, a longing for something more, for evidence of a divine dimension, for assurance that there is eternal value in what we do.
This is where we are asked to believe in Jesus as the “Son of David” who brings all of God’s promises to fulfillment. We do not have to live lives of mediocre joy. If we give Jesus an active part in all we do, we can find joy and fulfillment in everything, regardless of what others do. And we may even be able to bring others to a higher level of response if we let Jesus as Savior act with us, act in us, act through us. This is something to believe in and to strive for during Advent. “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”
Initiative: If you seek fulfillment, seek it where it can be found. Interact with Jesus. Before every action say, “Lord, do this with me, do this in me, do this through me” (memory aid: WIT).