Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church

(Isaiah 54:1-10; Luke 7:24-30)

A phrase in the new translation of the Mass almost clangs against the ear. The Second Eucharistic Prayer begins in the usual mode of petition then it takes a sharp turn to descriptive language. “…by sending down your Spirit like the dewfall,” it says reminding the people to soak their passions and prepare themselves for the germination of a whole new world. A very similar image echoes in the reading from Isaiah.

The Lord God is declaring His will for the people. They have been is darkness, but now a new beginning has come. “Let justice descend,” God says, “…like dew from above.” Justice will purify the heart and mind of each person to create a society which attends to God’s will. It takes definitive shape in Jesus who opens the eyes of the rich swollen with greed and preaches hope to the poor trapped in envy.

Impeding the coming of justice, the commercialism of Christmas drives us into obsession with material gifts, whether we mostly give or take them. We still can pray that Christ penetrates our hearts like the dew. We need his grace to resist the preoccupation with presents and packaging and to aspire to due change in the social order.