Friday of the First Week of Advent
Isaiah 29:17-24 + Matthew 9:27-31
December 2, 2016
“And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.”
Although the liturgies of Lent also evoke the themes of darkness and blindness, these themes are fundamental to the Season of Advent. The Sacred Liturgy during Advent often uses these themes to help Christians appreciate what man is without God.
Both the First and Gospel Readings today speak to the experience of blindness. The reference in the First Reading is only in passing: it’s one of many metaphors that speak to the power that will be seen “on that day”, the day of which the Book of the Prophet Isaiah speaks at length. That day sees reversals of fortune and wonders of nature, all testifying to the majesty of the Lord’s coming.
In comparison, the Gospel Reading seems to have a simpler focus. After curing the blindness of the two men, Jesus “warned them sternly” not to tell others about the miracle, and then the cured men ignore Jesus and spread their good news. Jesus doesn’t tell them, and St. Matthew doesn’t tell us, the reason for Jesus’ warning. However, in the bigger picture of the Gospel, it seems that the good news of individuals isn’t the same as the Good News of Jesus.
Putting the two readings side by side, they point our attention in the direction of today’s Responsorial Psalm. It is not to cure physical blindness that God sent His Son into the world. Nor are wonders of Mother Nature anything but signs of the Lord’s Power. When the Psalmist declares that the Lord is his light and his salvation, he’s singing of God’s desire and ability to raise us out of our sins and out of our very world, into His own sight for eternity. To the imagery of light the Psalmist adds his admission that the “one thing” he seeks is to “gaze on the loveliness of the Lord”. Here in Psalm 27 we hear the focus of Advent come into sharp relief.