Thursday of the First Week in Advent
(Isaiah 26:1-6; Matthew 7: 21.24-27)
The Protestant hymn “Rock of Ages” is said to find its inspiration in the reading from Isaiah today. God is “an eternal Rock” who humbles the haughty and protects the poor. A popular story surrounding the origin of the hymn pictures a humble clergyman returning home during a violent thunderstorm and finding shelter in a cave. The curate compares the cave to the pierced side of Jesus from which flowed his saving blood.
In his commentary on rock, Jesus is not so metaphorical. He compares the words that he has just uttered – the “Sermon on the Mount” – to a solid foundation for a building. Living the “Golden Rule” and the other counsels Jesus presents, we will withstand life’s greatest assaults. Death itself will not take us down.
During Advent we ask the Lord to demonstrate his strength. We long to see an end to heartbreak in Haiti and bloodbaths in Baghdad. We even dare to plead that we might become more patient, peaceful, and compassionate.