Jesus spoke a new teaching, and he spoke with authority.
The Inner Word
In his book, And Now I See: A Theology of Transformation, Father Robert Barron says, “Jesus nowhere in the gospels urges his followers to worship him, though he insistently calls them to follow him.” The readings this Sunday issue urgent challenges to make God’s will primary in our lives. This is not an intellectual exercise. It is a call to action.
A persistent calling awoke the young Samuel, and it was his mentor, Eli, who recognized it for what it was—a call from God. The Lord awoke Samuel and revealed his presence. Eli helped him know how to respond. As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him.
Today’s readings focus on epiphanies, occasions when the glories of the Lord are revealed. We can identify with Isaiah’s description that the earth is covered in darkness and thick clouds cover the peoples.
I once heard a family therapist say, “It is important for every family to get its saints out of heaven and its sinners out of hell.” The point is that it doesn’t pay to either idealize or demonize our families (or fellow family members).
Today’s readings invite us to look at where God chooses to dwell. David, in his palace, feels remiss that he has not provided a suitable palace for God, rather than the tattered and worn tent covering the Ark of the Covenant.
Some joy creeps into the readings this week. We are closer to the moment of Incarnation when God takes on a human identity, becomes flesh, and dwells among us. God becoming human casts new light on our own identity.
The theme of vigilance is being struck again this week. It’s good to become alert and aware of what’s percolating inside at this turbulent time of endings and new beginnings.
As Advent begins, moments of inner preparation are important. Give yourself enough undistracted time to focus on how these Advent readings speak to your heart. Light a candle (perhaps the Advent wreath). Close your eyes and breathe deeply, three breaths.
What have I done to alienate myself from God and others, and what have I failed to do? Take a moment to ponder these questions. Then ask yourself, What good have I done out of love for God and neighbor, and what temptations have I avoided?