Ut In Omnibus Glorificetur Deus
THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD MAY BE GLORIFIED
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not.
What urgency there is this antiphon. Something that lies below the earth (a root) stands high unto the heavens like a banner! Vexilia Regis Prodeunt we sing in Lent... what is a little root during Advent becomes by Lent the Tree of our salvation. Isaiah 11:10 gives us imagery for our reflection today. The great prophet of Advent tells us that the kingdom of David would be destroyed, but not entirely destroyed. A root would remain. Jesse is David's father. David is Jesse's root. David leads to Christ. After the destruction there remains a root. No matter what the exigencies of life present to us or how turbulent the vicissitudes of the passing world may be, when we cling to the root we are sure to be victorious in the end.
From a reflection by Fr Zuhldorf
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento..
O Lord and Ruler the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and redeem us with outstretched arms.
"Adonai" is "LORD." It was the Hebrew word that the Jews used when they found the four-lettered word for God's name which they held to be too sacred to pronounce aloud. Christ is Lord of Creation. We sang this yesterday in the antiphon "O Sapientia". Christ is also Lord of the Covenant with the People He chose. The Lord made covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Moses. He guided them and all the People. He gave them Law. He protected and feed them. The Lord delivered them from bondage to Pharaoh and unending slavery. He went before them with arm outstretched.
This was all a pre-figuring of the great work of redemptions that Christ would work on the Cross. He redeemed us His People from Satan and the eternal damnation of hell. He once appeared clothed in the burning bush that was not consumed by fire. He is about to appear again clothed in flesh in our liturgical celebration of Christmas. He will appear again one day in the future to judge the living and the dead. Each day He appears to us in the person of our neighbour.
What amazing contrasts we find in our Lord! He came in thunder and lightening to give the Law on Mt. Sinai. He comes now in swaddling clothes. He will come again in glory. He comes humbly in the appearance of Bread and Wine.
He still goes before us with outstretched arm and our foes are put to flight at the sight of His banner.
From a reflection by Fr Zuhldorf
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.
On December 17th we enter into that final stretch of our Advent preparation. In the Church's solemn prayer of the hours, at Vespers, the great "O Antiphons" are sung. Today we have the first.
Each of the "O Antiphons" carries Old Testament biblical figures. At the same time each one carries an element of the New Covent. These two characteristics are juxtaposed and a third dimension emerges which serves as a point of meditation when considering the Incarnate Word, the Son of God made flesh.
In today's "O Antiphon" - "O Sapientia" - we are drawn into the Old Testament's wisdom literature. Wisdom is a divine attribute. The divine Wisdom is personified. Wisdom is the beloved daughter who was before Creation, Wisdom is the breath of God's power, Wisdom is the shining of God's (transforming) glory. (See Sirach 24:3 and Wisdom 8:1.)
Wisdom is also something which we deeply desire. It is also a human attribute, not just a divine attribute, though authentic human wisdom is never separated from a relationship with God. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, as we learn from the psalms as well as the school of personal hard-knocks. From this convergence of awesome respect for God with the experience of learning through life's mysterious calendar, we understand (if we are wise) that wisdom is more than mere knowledge. It is something more than love. It is something more than just a special astuteness regarding how to get along in life. Rooted as it is in fear of the Lord, true human wisdom is both love and that knowledge of God that seeks to understand, the knowledge that is completed by faith.
"Prudence" comes from the Latin "to see/look ahead". It is one of the four "cardinal" virtues, one which other virtues depend. Prudence is a habit of the intellect that allows us to see in any circumstance what is virtuous and what is not. Prudence helps us to seek what is virtuous and avoid what is not. Prudence perfects the intellect (rather than the will) in practical decisions. It determines which course of action must be taken. It indicates what the golden mean is hic et nunc...here and now. This mean is at the core of every virtue. Without the virtue of prudence courage becomes foolhardiness... rushing in to the wrong danger in the wrong way at the wrong time. Without the governing of prudence mercy devolves into slackness and enervated weakness, spinelessness.
Today in the opening "O Antiphon" we sing to Emmanuel who is coming. We plead with Him, for He orders all things "sweetly and strongly." He teaches us how to avoid things that harm us, both in material concerns and in our pursuit of the happiness of heaven. He teaches us true prudence.
Take stock: is there something going on in my life that needs to be examined in prudence? Am I doing something which is going to be an obstacle to the happiness of heaven? Christ is coming, both at Christmas as the infant King and the end of the world as the Judge and King of fearful majesty. This is a cause to rejoice. But it is also cause to prepare prudently and well the way of the Lord and make straight His paths before He comes, as we heard about on "Gaudete" ("Rejoice!) Sunday of Advent.
From a reflection by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
This Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday Rejoice Sunday. This comes from the readings we hear today, and it underlines an important point. In the Gospel, we hear John the Baptist telling different groups what to do - they must repent, and change their lives. We might think of this as a rather joyless thing - something which is hard and unrewarding. The message of this Sunday is that repentance and changing our lives to welcome Jesus is something richly joyful. When we are planning to welcome anyone we love to our homes, we set about cleaning and preparing for their visit with enthusiasm - nothing is too much trouble for someone we care for greatly. Even scrubbing the bath or polishing the furniture can be a happy and joyful thing! The message of this Sunday is that preparing to welcome the Lord - even though it may involve hard work - is something utterly joyful, be cause of our love for Him, and His love for us.
Today we rejoice as we celebrate all the Holy men and women throught the ages, those know to us, as well as those officially enrolled in the list of the Saints of the Church.
We also rejoice as we welcome Evangeline into the fellowship of Christ's one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church in Baptism
We have the teachings given us by Jesus: Through Isaiah that God always loves us and wants us to come to Him; through the Letter to the Hebrews that God in Jesus carries us with Him and helps the ignorant and those who go astray, which means that God in Jesus is loving us right now; and through today’s Gospel that we must keep crying out to the Lord and insisting that the Lord hear us.
What a God of love we have. He is always seeking us, always helping us and always inviting us to keep calling out to Him. He will come to save us!
The Gospel from Saint Mark gives us two teachings. One is about wanting spiritual gifts. Jesus is clear that we can have spiritual gifts. What our role in the final Kingdom of Heaven will be is already prepared. Our role is to do the Father’s will in this life and to trust that what the Father gives us in heaven will be completely wonderful and beyond anything that we can imagine.
Probably many of us never think about our role in heaven or what we will do there. The challenge is simply to love God in this life and leave the future to the Lord. If we follow the Lord Jesus, we will surely suffer. Yet at the same time we will share more intimately in His life. In the life to come, we will not be jealous or even want to be anything other than we are. We will be loved beyond all that we can imagine.
So let us be servants to one another, seeking only to love one another and to do what will benefit the other. Let us walk with Jesus and accept the sufferings that must come if we are truly loving others.
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The Gospel today, from Saint Mark, tells the story of a very good young man who wants to follow Jesus and who has been deeply faithful to the teachings of God in his Jewish faith. Yes when Jesus asks the young man to give up all his wealth and come and follow HIM, then the young man goes away sad. What a strong teaching. God is always asking things of each of us.
In so many ways, we are like the rich young man: good and not yet totally committed. We don’t know what the young man did later on. Perhaps he ended up selling everything and giving it to the poor and following Jesus. But his first response was only sadness.
The story of the ten lepers is a testimony to the healing power of Jesus Christ. But it’s more than that. It’s a witness of gratitude from a condemned man who was brought from death to life.
This is what sets the story of the ten lepers apart from all the other healing stories of the New Testament, for of all those Jesus healed and raised from the dead, only this poor leper came back to say thank you. In this way, he serves as a paradigm for how we ought to live each day in gratitude for God’s redeeming love.
The leper was an outsider, someone whom society had made an outcast, yet he had the courage to make himself seen and go and say thankyou.
We are not outcasts and yet perhaps we forget to say thankyou. We can be quick to point out a fault, but how often do we go and thank someone for what they have done?
At the heart of our Catholic faith, is the belief that Jesus is both God and man, that Jesus was born for our salvation, that Jesus died for us and that Jesus rose from the dead. Always we are invited to know Jesus personally through the Scriptures and through the tradition that have come down to us and which we accept as revelation.
It is no easier today that it was in the time of Jesus to believe these truths of faith. We must meet the living Jesus before we can truly commit ourselves to Him. We should not think that those who were alive when Jesus was had it any easier than we do. They also found it difficult to believe that Jesus was God and that he rose from the dead after being put to death.
We come to meet Jesus personally in the Scriptures, by reading them and meditating on them. We come to meet Jesus personally when we meet the Christian community, the Church. We come to meet Jesus personally when we meet a believing Christian who is able to give a living witness to the Lord.
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