Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday of the First Week of Advent

(Isaiah 29:17-24, Matthew 9:27-31)

Fr. Mark Link, the Jesuit spiritual director, recommends a simple examination of conscience at day’s end. He advises listeners to pray, “Thank you, Father,” and name a blessing bestowed that day. Then they are to say, “I am sorry, Jesus,” and identify a particular sin or shortcoming experienced. Finally, they are to petition, “Holy Spirit, help me,” and include a challenge that will be faced tomorrow. Performing this simple exercise, Christians will realize the promise of Isaiah in the first reading.

Isaiah looks toward the coming of the Messiah as a time when “the eyes of the blind shall see.” This prophecy is literally fulfilled in the gospel when Jesus restores the sight of two blind men. He comes as well to give his followers sight or, maybe better, insight. They are to recognize his hand in providing the light of the sun and the water of the earth. They are to see his face in the poor and needy.

Absorbed in ourselves, we are blind to the goodness that abounds around us. Hearing Jesus’ gospel call, we recognize egotism as a significant cause of our inability to see. Eradicating it with concentrated effort and prayer, we experience the Lord in our midst which is the goal of Advent.