Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest

(Isaiah 11:1-10; Luke 10:21-24)

When St. Francis Xavier was a missionary, probably in India, he found the people very receptive of the faith.  One letter home expressed how he exhausted himself baptizing children without reaching anywhere near the majority of people.  He wrote how he fantasized returning to a European university “crying out like a madman” to the men who kept their noses in books.  He would tell them, “…how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you.”

Advent underscores a similar message.  It urges people to wake from their indifference.  It announces that Christ is at hand with salvation for themselves as well as for others.  They must prepare for his arrival by acts of justice and mercy. 

What will it be like when he gets here?  The season picks out the promise of Isaiah that we hear in the first reading today to describe the wonder of his presence.  There will be peace like nothing ever known before: enemies embracing, fear vanishing, and everyone rejoicing in the Lord.