The Return of God’s Favor
(1st Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 63:16—64:7; 1 Cor. 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37)
The prophets love to remind God of things he already knows. Today’s first reading begins with just such a statement: “You, Lord, are our father, our redeemer you are named forever.” Isaiah goes on to recall God’s past “awesome deeds” in favor of his people.
He is really saying: “Lord, you’ve done this before. Do it again!”
Rather than force Israel to return to him, God had allowed his people to wander from his ways and to suffer the consequences. It was in just such a circumstance that Mary came to La Salette.
Isaiah adds, “Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways!” He knows that this does not describe his people’s attitude and behavior; for he adds: “There is none who calls upon your name.”
The Beautiful Lady tells us she prays constantly to her Son on our behalf. Part of that prayer surely consists in reminding him of what he has done for us. Then, speaking to the two children, she acknowledges her people’s infidelity, and the crucifix she wears serves as a reminder of the redemption achieved by her Son, the source of our hope.
In the Opening Prayer of today’s Mass we ask God to grant us “the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming.” We must understand this correctly. It is not that we hope to earn salvation by our deeds. Rather, to the One who has already saved us we desire to offer what he himself tells us will please him.
There may have been a defining moment in your life, when you embraced your faith in a truly personal way. Your life changed in certain ways, and you resolved to live your Christian life as fully as possible.
Advent is the perfect time to pray for the return of God’s favor, as we do in today’s psalm response: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”
In our hearts we might hear him respond: “My child, turn to me; let me see your face and you shall be saved.” Perhaps he will remind us of our former devotion and say, “You did it once; do it again!”
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.