With Christmas nearing, what preparations have you made to welcome Christ into the depths of your heart?
In today's first reading, Ahaz, the king of Judah, just received word that two kings are on their way to invade and destroy Judah. At this news "the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled, as leaves of the forest tremble in the wind."
We are living, walking mysteries, searching for answers. Each of us has the same question, but each of us searches for answers to the mystery that is I. Each of us knows that this mysterious interior of ours cries out for what is not yet, for what is beyond our grasp, for an infinite that must be out there somewhere.
Advent is a time of hope and that hope comes to us through the Scriptures. Isaiah is talking about a "sprout from the stump of Jesse." This sprout will blossom and the spirit of the Lord will rest upon him. This marvelous individual will have the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and strength, knowledge and fear of the Lord.
Today Isaiah tells us, "Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob."
People of the ancient world believed that gods reside on high mountains and the higher the mountain, the more powerful the god who resides there.
Isaiah knew very well that Mount Zion was not the highest mountain. Yet he believed that God would establish it as the place from which the power of His word would go out to the whole world. This is the place where God will meet and speak with His people. This is where God will form His kingdom.
In our Western society, we think of democracy as the only legitimate form of government. However, when a king provides protection and leadership for his people and also serves his people with good governance, then we have a society in which members can prosper.
That is the kind of kingship David brought to the Jewish people. The Lord said to David, "You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel." Really, the Lord was their king, and David was the Lord's spokesperson.
Today's readings are all about the fulfillment of God's promises. Our problem is very simple. We are more concerned about the "when" than the "what." Yet, if we take care of the "what" in our lives, we do not have to worry about the "when."
When God's justice is fully revealed, the time of mercy is past. That is why the present moment is replete with great possibilities.