Tuesday – First Week – Advent

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Tuesday – First Week – Advent

Readings: Isa 11:1-10; Lk 10:21-24.

Reading 1 (Isa 11:1-10):

On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Gospel (Lk 10:21-24):

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”


I. THEME: God has done impossible things to human beings.

            In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah gave people a hope. When the kingdom of Judah was conquered and Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 587 B.C., the king, his officers, and most people were on exile in Babylon. After about 50 years on exile, they were set free by Cyrus and Darius, and returned to Judah to reestablish their country and to rebuild the Temple. The question was put out: “who will be the leader to start this project?” The leader must belong to David’s lineage, and Zerubbabel met required conditions to lead people (cf. Hag 1:1, Zech 4:9). From Zerubbabel’s lineage will appear the Messiah (Mt 1:12). In the Gospel, Jesus revealed God’s plan of salvation to his disciples and showed them how to reach their ultimate goal.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: How to find a righteous king to govern people?

           

1.1/ How to find a righteous king to govern people after the exile? Jehoiachin is the last Judah’s king and on exile in Babylon about 597 B.C.. Nebuchadnezzar put Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, in charge of Judah until 587 B.C.. The prophet Isaiah described the Messiah as following: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.” Jesse is king David’s father. The kingdom of Judah was liken to a tree which was cut off from the root. This is Judah’s condition when they were on exile. The tree is considered as death, but God will recover and make it alive. It starts up with a shoot from the stump, and a branch shall grow out of its roots. This shoot is the image of the Messiah.

            The spirit of God is the breath (ruah) that gives life which God bestows on men. This breath has an immense power: “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.” The Septuagint and the Vulgate replaced one “fear of the Lord” with “piety.” This Isaian passage is the origin of the Holy Spirit’s seven gifts. The faithful received these gifts when they received the Confirmation.

1.2/ The king of righteous, love and courage: With God’s spirit, the Messiah has all necessary virtues to govern his people.

            (1) He will righteously judge his people: “Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins… He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear.”

            (2) He will protect the poor: “with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.”

            (3) He will rightly punish the wicked: “he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.”

1.3/ He is the king of peace: After people have suffered so much from war and exile, they dream about peace. This desire can only be achieved when people of this world know how to put aside all differences to live together and to build up peace. Isaiah foresaw this dream will be achieved under the Messiah’s kingship when he will conquer all worldly powers and gather all people to God. Isaiah wrote: “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.They shall not hurt or destroy in my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious.” This is the condition of human original justice which belonged to people before Adam and Eve committed their first sin.

2/ Gospel: How do people know God’s will?

           

2.1/ God’s will: God is supreme wise and powerful while men are limitted in understanding and weak; how can people understand God’s providence and will? In the Old Testament, God used prophets to communicate with people; but they could partly understand and reveal God’s will in human language. When Jesus came, he revealed to people all what he has seen in God. Jesus’ revelation is concise and perfect because he was with God from the beginning when God created the world. Christ’s most important revelation to people is the mystery of Incarnation; but not all people can understand this mystery, as Jesus said in today Gospel: “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!”

            (1) The poor were revealed: It is different with worldly wisdom, the mystery of salvation can only be understood by the poor. The poor are those who rely on God, not on themselves.

            (2) The wise didn’t understand: The mystery of salvation is announced to all. The wise couldn’t understand it because they rely on themselves. If they used human wisdom to reason, the mystery of salvation is absurd, impossible to understand. St. Paul already talked about this on the Crucified Christ.

            (3) Worldly kings didn’t see it: “Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

2.2/ How to reach the ultimate goal of life? Jesus reveals to people not only the purpose of life but also the way to achieve this purpose.

            (1) Love God and others: Jesus approved the scribe’s answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

            (2) Practice the law of love: However, Jesus reminded him that he should know not only the way but also make an effort to practice these two commandments: “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            – Nothing is impossible to God. In His plan of salvation, he has prepared everything for human beings.  The condition to understand the mystery of salvation is to be humble and simple. The way to reach the ultimate goal is to love God and others.

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