Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
(Isaiah 25:6-10a; Matthew 15:29-37)
Last week Pope Francis met with local leaders of the Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Christian faith traditions in Myanmar. Each leader had an opportunity to express his hopes for the dialogue. Pope Francis said that the meeting demonstrated unity in diversity and that the diverse traditions should learn from one another. He added that all are brothers with the same Father. The meeting reflects the hope of today’s first reading and its fulfilment in the second.
The vision of the prophet Isaiah of a heavenly banquet features the coming together of all peoples. It remarks that the veils that prevent both individuals and nations from seeing the goodness of others are now lifted. Everyone can enjoy the richness of foods from other cultures. Jesus fulfills this vision. He heals different types of debilities. He feeds all present, who likely include non-Jewish Greeks. The fact that there are seven baskets of left-overs indicates that the food is plentiful and everyone is content.
Advent reminds us that Jesus is close-by. He is bringing us together with other kinds of people and will satisfy all our just desires. To have full advantage of Jesus’ offer we need to recognize our need for him. Then we must turn to others, whatever their faith or nation, as brothers and sisters.