Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday of the Second Week in Advent

(Isaiah 48:17-19; Matthew 11:16-19)

Metanoia is the Greek word for repentance.  It literally means a change of mind.  Of course, metanoia is the great theme of Lent.  Nevertheless, both readings today convey the idea.

The reading from Isaiah promises abundance if the people would only follow the Lord’s commandments.   God will give them plenty, it says, but they have to obey His law.  Jesus sounds exasperated because the people always find a way to avoid the ways of righteousness.  His reference to John the Baptist’s ascetic lifestyle should be heard as a metaphor for John’s preaching “fire and brimstone.”  But the people ignored John anyway.  Jesus has presented the call to repentance in an opposing way.  His “eating and drinking” should be taken as proclaiming God’s goodness to those who turn to Him.  By suggesting God’s graciousness, Jesus echoes Isaiah in the first reading.  The people, however, still do not care.

The Christmas season serves as a testing ground for our repentance.  As everyone knows, it is the most materialistic time of the year.  If we have repented of the world’s ways, we will not desire to either receive or give luxurious gifts.  Our aim will be to welcome the Lord by showing kindness and joy to all.