Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
Isaiah 40:1-11 + Matthew 18:12-14
December 6, 2016
“The Lord our God comes with power.”
Today’s First Reading from Isaiah contains the passage quoted by St. John the Baptist during Advent. St. John the Baptist is “the voice” foreseen by Isaiah, the one who “cries out: ‘In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!’” This cry is the Church’s ‘battle plan’ for Advent, and St. John is its standard bearer.
Although we know that the “desert” and “wasteland” that St. John refers to are spiritual rather than physical, we might still hesitate to acknowledge that he’s referring to our own souls in all their sinfulness. Isaiah, however, doesn’t let us off the hook. In the verses that follow those quoted by St. John, Isaiah declares in some beautiful poetry just where we stand as fallen children of Adam and Eve. Consider the words he puts on the lips of “the voice” whom he does not identify:
“All flesh is grass, and all their glory like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower wilts, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it. So then, the people is the grass. Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.”
The humility these words evoke from an honest soul is the soil in which God’s Word can take root. But this sinful flesh that is grass will be transformed by the Messiah who offers us His flesh and blood in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. On this holy day of waiting for the Advent of our Messiah, say a prayer of thanksgiving that our Father does not leave us to our sinfulness, but is sending the word of our God to become flesh for our salvation.