From Misery to Glory
(2nd Sunday of Advent: Baruch 5:1-9; Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6)
The opening of today’s text from Baruch is wonderful: “Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever.” In fact, the entire reading brims over with hope and consolation.
Depending on our circumstances, we might replace “Jerusalem” with our own name, or our family or some larger group. There are moments in every life when we need to throw off the robe of misery. God’s will for us is joy.
St. Paul writes to the Philippians, “I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you... And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value.”
John the Baptist appears in the Gospel, “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Mary came to La Salette in tears, but she too brought hope and left a message of reconciliation. She wanted, in the words of the Psalm, to “restore our fortunes like the torrents in the southern desert.”
In fact, consider how many words of today’s Psalm can easily be associated with the Beautiful Lady and her message: tears, seed, sowing, reaping, etc.
The same may be said of the first reading. Mary shows herself in both an attitude of mourning and the splendor of glory. She stands upon the heights, looking upon her children—the two innocents standing with her, as well as her wayward people whom she desires to gather “by the light of God’s glory, with his mercy and justice for company.” In our own way, as reconcilers, we must also stand upon the heights. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden... Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5: 14, 16).
May we all be cloaked in justice and mercy, bearing on our heads “the mitre that displays the glory of the eternal name.” In this way we may hope to attract others to Christ and, in the words of St. Paul, help them “to discern what is of value.”
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.