In the Old Testament, when we encounter the idea of breath, we should think of the Holy Spirit. The breath of God (ruah) moved above the waters at creation. Mary became the tabernacle of God through the breath of the Holy Spirit. Jesus breathed on the disciples after the resurrection. And Saint John the Baptist refers to himself by what he does – a voice crying out in the wilderness. To have voice, we need breath. In a broken world, how often to we share the joy of our relationship with Jesus? For that is the cause of real joy.
It’s a dangerous job to be a prophet. Usually it does not end well. The prophet Isaiah minces no words in speaking to the people. “Worm” and “Maggot” are not usually terms of endearment. But the message he offers is one we too need to hear. We need to convert more fully and completely to Jesus, so he is able to come into our hearts.
Why is it that Mary needed to be sinless? Because this made her the fitting mother for the Son of God. And just as she fully cooperated with the grace God gave her, so too can we cooperate with the grace God gives us.
Do people see in Christians people who proclaim comfort in Jesus? Or, is it the case that we are all too often perceived as harsh, mean, uncaring? And yet, is not the point of a relationship with Jesus that we will know we are always loved when Jesus is close? Our lives are not spared from sorrow, but in Christ we never have to deal with them alone.
Actions speak louder than words. It is not enough simply to say the name of God. Rather, we need to pray and then to act. Our faith in God should help us to recognize his presence in all others, giving them the human dignity that is beyond price.
Today’s reading from Isaiah describes the wonderful intention of God for us. It harkens back to the book of Genesis where we are reminded the original plan of God was one of holiness and justice. Longing for Jesus to come into our lives is a longing for original holiness and original justice.
Sin is the problem. Watching for Jesus who saves is the solution. And so Advent begins. Come, Lord Jesus.
Can you be grateful for your suffering? A spiritual director I had in the seminary asked me this question, and I was taken aback. But trying to sincerely pray in gratitude for my suffering helped me to discover God.
The readings are certainly dramatic these days. We are coming to the end of the Church year, and we are focused on the end of time. When asked for a timeline of these events of the end times, Jesus appears to give one, but in reality his message is that we really won’t know so we should always be watchful for him.
Are you a very important person? Increasingly I think each of us answers that question with a resounding “yes”! But if we really wish to be a very important person, then we must make Christ our King by recognizing his image in every human being.