daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer
Homily of Friday, 1st Week of Advent, December 04, 2009
Is 29:17-24, Ps 26, Mt 9:27-31

"In that day ... the meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall exult in the Holy One of Israel" (Is 29:18,19).

This is a Messianic prophecy. With the coming of the Messiah into the world, we live in the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy. Those who believe in Jesus Christ and are born again in him live in this happiness of God, present in their hearts and in the world, transforming all things if only they can continually obey him and keep from falling into sin and imperfections. Yet even if they do fall into imperfections and experience God's wrath, they are saved from it by Christ's vicarious suffering of their punishment for them on the cross. They live, therefore, in the kingdom that has already come. This kingdom, present in Jesus Christ, is the source of all human happiness. This is true happiness of spirit, which God alone can give, and he gives it through his Son, made man, incarnate in the world, to transform it and bring it heavenly peace. Those who live in him have their sins forgiven and the pain of their guilt removed. They live in the splendor of his kingdom here on earth, in the midst of this old world with all its problems. In the kingdom of God, the meek and the poorest "shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord and ... shall exult in the Holy one of Israel" (Is 29:19). Thus is fulfilled today's entrance antiphon, "The Lord is coming from heaven in splendor to visit his people and bring them peace and eternal life."

This antiphon is also the expression of our hope for the future. It is our joy, especially during Advent, to prepare ourselves for this beautiful future when we shall see Jesus Christ, all surrounded by light, coming in glory with the clouds of heaven, accompanied by all his holy ones. We live now in this shining vision in the midst of the darkness of the present life. We see Christ now by faith and in the joy of our heart; but he is still veiled from us because his kingdom has not yet been consummated. We therefore live in hope. But it is a joyful hope, full of activity and preparation. Every day, regardless of how we feel, we continue preparing ourselves more for the coming of his kingdom in its fullness on earth-a universal kingdom of heavenly peace (Is 9:7; Lk 1:32-33). We try to avoid sin and disobeying God in order not to lose his peace. We help our neighbor, using the gifts that God has given us for this purpose, and we dedicate ourselves completely to the Lord in all that we do. This is our joyful preparation for the coming of the Lord for the transformation of the earth. We hope with eager expectation for the day when the Lord will come "from heaven in splendor to visit his people and bring them peace and eternal life" (Entrance Antiphon). When he comes in splendor, he will fill us with this same splendor in the joy of our heart. We long for that great day of splendor. We live by faith, hoping for that great day, and it is our joy to prepare ourselves for it now. We do so by faith and perfect obedience to the will of God, and by divesting ourselves of all else to live for him alone in this world with all our heart, with a heart that is undivided in its love for him.


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