Monday of the First Week of Advent

Monday of the First Week of Advent
Isaiah 2:1-5  +  Matthew 8:5-11
December 4, 2017

“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain….”

Our First Reading and Psalm today both describe the image of “the house of the Lord”.  In these Old Testament passages, “the house of the Lord” refers not to Heaven, but to the sacred, earthly city of Jerusalem.  Both passages also mention that Jerusalem sits atop a mountain (not on the scale of the Rockies or Himalayas, but a mountain relative to the Holy Land).  The fact that “the house of the Lord” sits atop a mountain implies an ascent, which in turn implies personal sacrifice.  One must stretch and climb to reach His house.  We can relate this ascent both to the long course of Old Testament salvation history, and also to our own religious practices during the Season of Advent.

Today’s Gospel passage presents Jesus’ response to such human initiative.  The pagan centurion not only shows initiative in appealing to Jesus, but also faith.  This pagan utters the cry that each of us echoes before Holy Communion:  “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”  Jesus responds to him with a prophecy that fulfills Isaiah’s:  “…many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Each of us, even if a member of Christ’s Body from birth, should not presume upon God’s grace, but imitate the faith of the pagan centurion.  Make a two-fold prayer on this first weekday of Advent.  (1) Pray that many others will come to Jesus in Holy Mass.  (2) Pray that you will generously take the fruits of the Eucharist to many others though the sacrifices of your daily life.