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. There is a captivating story surrounding the origin of the hymn. A humble clergyman returning home found himself caught in a violent thunderstorm. Not being able to travel on, he took shelter in a cave. Secure inside, the curate compared the cave’s wall to the pierced side of Jesus. As his life was spared that day, so his soul was being saved by the blood flowing from the side of Jesus.
In today’s gospel Jesus is similarly metaphorical. He compares the words of the Sermon which he is now ending to a building’s rock foundation. Jesus assures that by living the “Golden Rule” and the other counsels presented, his listeners will withstand life’s greatest assaults. Death itself will not carry them away.
During Advent we ask the Lord to demonstrate his strength. We pray for an end to war in Afghanistan and on many city streets. We dare to plead that we might become more patient, more peaceful, and more compassionate.