The Responsorial Psalm is a key to today's readings: "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord"
Isaiah 2: 1-5 tells us how Jesus is going to save the world through his Church as successor to Israel: "All nations shall stream toward it.. that [God] may instruct us in his ways." If people listen and do what God teaches, "one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again."
The violent history of nominally Christian Europe and the Americas proves that we have not listened, learned or lived the teaching of Jesus as we should. Few Christians read the Bible deeply. Even fewer spend significant time reflecting on it or discussing its meaning. The laity wait for the clergy to enlighten them, presupposing that the clergy spend more time in prayer than they do - which, except for the Mass, is an optimistic assumption. Still, the light is in the Church, and Advent invites us to seek it: "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.. Let us walk in the light of the Lord!"
But we have to "go." In Matthew 8:5-11 the centurion had to approach Jesus, who healed his servant only after the centurion interacted with him. We must not only ask for Jesus' help but also accept it by interacting thought- fully with his mind, cultivating his desires, doing his will.
Like the centurion's servant, we may feel that something in us is "lying paralyzed." We may even be "in terrible distress." Certainly our country, in spite of its complacency, is distressed in many ways - and distressing others. Yet there is a widespread paralysis of social action. Problems go unaddressed.
If we are not looking at reality with eyes of faith, Advent calls us into the light. If we don't feel hope, Advent presents God's promise. If we are not sufficiently motivated by love, Advent invites us to look at God's.
The Scripture invites us to believe in Jesus as the "Son of David" who brings all of God's promises to fulfillment. We do not have to lie paralyzed in the presence of evil, or live lives of mediocre joy. If we give Jesus an active part in all we do, we can bring healing hope and joyful love to everything, regardless of what others do. And we will be able to bring others with us to a higher level of life and love if we just let Jesus act with us, act in us, act through us as the Savior that he is. This is something to believe in and to strive for during Advent. "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord."