Off to Mass this morning in bright sunshine and sparkling ice. The readings began with the famous Isaiah 11:1 promising a shoot from the stump of Jesse. David bar Jesse’s royal family appeared to have been cut down as Israel and then Judah had been taken into exile. But Isaiah promised the little remnant that remained in Jerusalem that a saviour would come. It did then in the form of King Hezekiah but as with most Biblical prophecy there is always more than one fulfilment. The complete fulfilment would come with the Messiah.
By the time John is baptising in the Jordan many had given up hope of a Messiah ever coming. Israel remained scattered and only Judah and Benjamin with some Levite priests made up the lands of Judea. (Luke tells us the prophetess Anna was of the tribe of Ashur thus foreshadowing the return of all Israel).
John is related to Jesus so has some Judah in his blood but he is the son of the man who had once been High Priest Zachariah and was therefore a Levite. Those of you who say Divine Office will say the beautiful prophetic prayer of Zachariah at John’s circumcisn and naming. If you are suddenly going to regain your voice after nine months of silence that is the way to do it I think. John is the voice in the wilderness that Isaiah had spoken of. He calls on the people to repent and be baptised. To repent means to stop and turn around. The baptism that John gave was akin the symbolic water of purification the Jews used for ritual cleansing after being with the dead or with blood or childbirth. John’s baptism was to show sorrow, but it was not the baptism Jesus asked of His Church for it did not confer Grace. Later we know the apostles baptised with water and the spirit those who had only received the baptism of repentance from John. (Acts 19).
Advent needs some quiet thought. It is supposed to be a time of purple- of repentence and preparation. There are no flowers in the church at this time as we are still in the desert – waiting for the words “Ero Cras,” (Tomorrow I come).
In the lady chapel a vase held the purple tulips I had taken there with Iona to remember my dear friend who died last year just before Advent began.
The coming week will be a busy one. There are interesting feast days and events for the children: Tomorrow is the feast of St Nicholas, once bishop of Myrna who having survived ten years in prison thanks to Galerian and Diocletion went on to attend the great Council of Nicea and from there became the ever famous Father Christmas. There is tons of good stuff here.
Tuesday is the feast of St Ambrose a man of song 🙂 It is also Avila’s 6th birthday (a girl of song and dance).
Wednesday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – something that causes very interesting questions. (Well, I think so). I think I might do a post on that. It’s also the day I am back at the hospital (groan – but then Advent is supposed to have some penance).
Thursday is the feast of St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. A quiet saint who did quiet things in extraordinary circumstances. The feast of his Lady, Our Lady of Guadelupe would be on Sunday which is Gaudete Sunday from the Indroit “Gaudete in Domino semper!” (Rejoice in the Lord always). I think she will be outshone by her Son that day as she would only say was right.
Blessed Advent to you all.