Scripture: 1st Reading: Is26,1-6; Resp. Psalm: Ps118,1,8-9,19-21,25-27; Gospel: Mt7,21,24-27
The prophecy of Isaiah today is about the divine visitation of Yahweh to His people. The city of God will be restored from the ruins to which it had been laid by the marauding armies of the enemy. The city will once again become a fortress where the people could find refuge.
The prophecy foresees the return of the righteous nation that keeps faith, that is, the remnant that would return from exile and take possession of the restored city. Yahweh will give peace to His people whose minds are stayed on Him, that is, who do not depart from His will. He will protect those who trust in Him, the everlasting rock.
For the sake of His people who cry unto Him, Yahweh would exact vengeance on their enemies. He would bring low "the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy." With this victory, the people would come to realize that it was better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man or in princes.
Victory would come if the people trusted fully in their God. Restoration would come if they put aside their dependence on man. They would receive healing if their lives were coherent. Our Lord taught us the same thing in today's gospel passage. He publicly told His hearers that there was more to discipleship than mere verbal declaration of allegiance to Him.
According to our Lord, more important for discipleship is doing the will of the Father. Doing the Father's will is also to hear the word and keep it. When one does this, one is like a house that is built on the rock and stands the test of the elements. The one who does not is like a foolish person who built his house on sand that did not stand the test of time.
Advent is a time to examine our faith commitment to the Lord. It is a time to ask ourselves if indeed the Lord God is our everlasting rock. It is a time to ask if we are ardent hearers and doers of the word, a time to take stock to know on what foundation our faith is built.
St. Ambrose was such a disciple who built the "house" of his faith on God, the everlasting rock. He lived and good life as a civil servant and was still a catechumen when the people of Milan, seeing his worthy life, proclaimed him their bishop. He was ordained bishop on this day in 374AD and becoming an outstanding pastor, preacher, soul winner, prolific writer, great administrator of the goods of the Church.
May his life continue to inspire us to greater holiness. May He intercede for us. May God raise up in His Church great teachers of faith and models of apostolic courage, people after His own heart, who would govern the flock with courage and wisdom.
Let us pray: "Stir up your power, O Lord, and come to our help with mighty strength, that what our sins impede the grace of your mercy may hasten." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.