Commentary on the Gospel of

Andy Alexander, S.J. - Creighton University's Collaborative Ministry Office


If you would hearken to my commandments,
    your prosperity would be like a river,
    and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand,
    and those born of your stock like its grains. Isaiah 48

To what shall I compare this generation? ...

The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’  ...
But wisdom is vindicated by her works. - Matthew 11


The words of the Prophet Isaiah are good to hear. There is a promise of wonderful transformation that will happen in us, when we are faithful. Beautiful images - like a river, like the waves of the sea, like the sand, like the grains. Images of fullness, wonder and power.


Jesus must have been so discouraged by those who rejected him. He compares them to children in the marketplace, negative about everything. It is similarly sad to experience the rejection of Jesus going on today, especially by Christians. There's a tendency to not like his eating and drinking with sinners today. There's a pattern of picking and choosing what we accept from Jesus or about him. We don't much like it when he says, "Don't judge and you won't be judged." We don't seem to be attracted to the Jesus who said, "Turn the other cheek" or "Love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you." We don't often chew his parable about the weeds in a field of wheat. (We tend to be weeders at heart.) We don't much find ourselves moved by his breaking the law to comfort the sick and the sinful, women, the marginalized and ostracized. We barely hear and take in all the things he says to the religious leaders of his day. We tend to end up with a Jesus quite different with the one in the scriptures.


I suspect it is part of the reason that our Advent season can be a difficult or uninspiring time. The grace being offered all of us is a promise of his coming closer to us during these weeks in which we celebrate his coming in history and while we await his coming in the fullness of time. We can only long for his coming, anticipate it with hope-filled expectation, if we are attracted to the one who comes. As we light these successive Advent candles - symbolizing our hope in a light growing in our various experiences of darkness, we grow in our desire for the real Jesus - the whole and complete Jesus - to come to us. Our "Come, Lord Jesus" asks, "Fill me with your light." We ask that his way, his compassion, his heart, his sensitivities, his affections, his self-giving love will be poured into our hearts.


The more we are drawn to the real Jesus, the more we will be drawn to each other. His love for each of us draws us into a community of loved persons who share our gratitude. The differences between us don't divide us, but become blessings which enrich the whole. This community itself becomes a light in the darkness and the divisions of the world around us. His Spirit is alive among us and sets our hearts on fire for the promotion of his way of justice and equity. Unity and peace flourish in a community of Jesus' beloved. We become uncomfortable with some who have so much and some who have so little. Fighting and blaming, bad wounds in a community destined for unity and love, are healed. The wounded, those in need, the marginal, will see the difference of our Advent journey as we turn from seeing each other as adversaries, and turn to being carers of the least of Jesus' brothers and sisters. Then we will sing together with joy at his coming to gather us into his kindom "of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace." [Preface of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe]


Come, Lord, Jesus, Come! We await your coming. Come, O Lord!


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