Advent 2015

Second Monday of Advent - December 7th

Is 35: 1-10 / Ps   85: 9-14 / Lk 5: 17-36

The capacity of the Lord to heal, forgive, and love is boundless.  He gives only what is good (Ps 8: 12), and what was parched and desiccated will in the fullness of time blossom and become verdant; the blind shall see, the lame walk, those with no capacity for speech will “sing for joy” (Is 35: 6).  And what is required in return?  In Christian Scripture, the unequivocal answer is Faith.  The power of Jesus is at the disposal of those who manifest a belief in Him.  Rarely are these persons the great and good of Judea: rather they are the oppressed, the sinners, the broken, and those, like Levi, deemed odious by society.  In Luke 5: 18-21, an unnamed man suffers from paralysis, and he and his friends seek Jesus out for a cure.  Undaunted by the crowds that surround Jesus and make him inaccessible, the companions hoist their friend to the roof of the house in which Jesus is located, remove some tiles, and lower the man “with his bed…into the midst before Jesus.”  This man is blest with persistent and ingenious friends, and Jesus reacts accordingly: “And when he saw their faith, he said, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’”  And the paralysis ends as the man rises, goes home, and glorifies God.  But this remarkable story is marred by the carpings of faultfinders.   In Luke’s Gospel, they are labeled as Pharisees and their scribes—highly literate and unbendingly literal interpreters of the Torah—and they mutter darkly against a man who presumes to forgive sins and who sits at table with tax collectors.  Yet who among us is not a Pharisee, at least at times: who is not willfully blind to the bounty of God; who clings to regulations instead of giving way to kindness and compassion; who does not sometimes bristle at having to deal with persons we deem less good or respectable than ourselves?  Jesus’ rejoinder to the Pharisees is his rebuke (and encouragement) to each of us: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Lk 5: 31-32)  It is only with a humble heart and a quiet sense of joyful hope that we may one day greet the coming bridegroom.

Christopher Daly
Villanova Center for Liberal Education