December 21, 2018
(St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church)
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O come, O come Emmanuel . . .
O-nly 4-more days, beloved!
O Come, O come, Emmanuel!
Redeem thy captive Israel
That into exile drear is gone,
Far from the face of God’s dear Son.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come! . . . “O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, Let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.” Sg_2:8-14
Elizabeth said to Mary, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Lk_1:39-45
As we exit this time of Advent penance and preparation, we can see, we can hear the voice of our Lover, the voice of our Lord, calling out to us, “Awake, Arise, I am here!” Our winter of suffering, our winter of darkness is over, because our Bridegroom has arrived in the brightness of God’s Glory. It’s time to take off our robes of mourning, and put on our best wedding garments, for the banquet is about to begin.
It’s interesting how, throughout the Old and New Testaments, this image of marital love and wedding feast constantly re-occurs. And there’s good reason. You see, God wants us to fully understand the unbreakable Bond, the eternal Vow, and the glorious Celebration that happens in the Love shared between ourselves and Him.
He wants us to understand how, like the Prophet Hosea and his wife Gomer, God will never abandon us, even when WE leave him.
He wants us to understand how, like David and Bathsheba, infidelity hurts way more than just to ourselves.
He wants us to understand how the invigorating life of the Holy Spirit within us will never, ever run out, just like the extraordinary wine that Jesus transformed from ordinary water at a wedding feast.
And He wants us to understand, how that wedding banquet is symbolized for us in every Sunday, and in every daily Mass that we participate in.
And then there’s that relationship between us, ourselves. Just like Mary’s hasty departure to visit her beloved cousin, Elizabeth; so should we depart from our lives of separation from God, to hastily visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
And just as there was an immediate and invisible Bond between John in the inner womb of Elizabeth and Jesus in the inner womb of Mary, so there is an invisible and immediate Bond between our souls and the Spirit of Jesus in the Sacrament of our Mass, and in our Union with one another.
And what is this Bond, this Marriage, this Feast, this Union all about? It’s all about LOVE! St. John tells us that God IS Love. And where there is Love, there is God!
Jesus, then, is Love Incarnate.
For there, in that little manger, THERE is Love.
And there in that touch of a leper, there is Love.
There in the calming of a storm, there is Love.
And there, in that beating, and in that nailing, and in that dying, there is Love.
And there, in that neighbor, in that grandchild, and in that stranger;
wherever there is Love, there is our God.
Today, Jesus, our Lover, our Bridegroom is calling us to awaken from our slumber of self and to open our eyes to the Light of His Love – all around us.
Listen for His Voice, beloved . . .
It just may be there, in the most unexpected of places, like a dove in a cleft, or a baby in a cave!
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