Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
(Isaiah 54:1-10; Luke 7:24-30)
Background checks are almost as much a part of the employment process as filling out an application. Employers investigate not only where an applicant comes from but her work and educational experiences as well. They want to be as sure as possible that the person will work well in a new environment. Fortunately, God does not require a background check to enter his kingdom as both readings today testify.
The reading from Isaiah tells the abandoned woman that she will have a new husband – God Himself. He will make her very happy with many children. She is the people of Israel who were figuratively widowed when the elite of Jerusalem went into exile. Now they may leave in peace for God is there to protect them. Jesus says something similar in the gospel. He tells the crowds that sinners who heeded John’s call to repentance will be accepted into the Kingdom of God. However, those – like the Pharisees – who ignored the call by refusing to acknowledge their sins much less to repent of them will remain without God’s reward.
People talk of the need to forgive oneself of sin. They probably mean allowing oneself to experience the forgiveness of God. Where we are often either too demanding or too lax in considering our behavior, God is always equitable. He is ever ready to accept us back into His fold as long as we truly repent of our sins.