Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
Almost from the beginning of Advent, we begin to hear again and again of the promises to Israel for deliverance. The prophecies of Isaiah speak eloquently to the promise of redemption: give comfort to my people; speak tenderly to Jerusalem, proclaim that her service is at an end; fear not, your God comes to save you; like a shepherd, he feeds his flock; let us rejoice and be glad that the Lord has saved us; on this mountain, the Lord will provide for all peoples.
Many of the Gospel passages depict the beginnings of the kingdom of God in the ministry of Jesus with cures, healings, casting out demons, restoring sight to the blind, and feeding of the multitude.
Today both the prophecy from Isaiah and the words of the Gospel acknowledge that the faithful grow weary in their efforts and that we too weaken in our hope. We grow weary. Our hopes are challenged by any number of realities in regular routines, with recurring struggles, the fact of our weakness, the presence of sickness, etc.
The words of Isaiah can stir us to hope even when we might be tempted to forget God’s promise. “How can you say my way is hidden from God?” God does not faint or grow weary. God gives strength to the fainting. They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings, not growing weary, not fainting.”
God’s promise is articulated again for us today, and with it is the continual challenge that we are beacons of hope for one another. There are plenty of burdens. There are plenty of challenges to hope and occasions to grow weary. But we seek to stir up our hope in God’s promises; one of the best ways to do that is to support one another through our good deeds.
Reflection by Fr. Peter Ullrich, OSB