Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Countdown, Part 2

Today’s “O” Antiphon is “O Lord of Might”, from the Hebrew, Adonai (the respectful name for the LORD in Hebrew).

This is the title that the LORD gave to Moses (cf. Exodus 3) when he called him from shepherding his father-in-law’s flocks in the land of Midian to be the deliverer – and lawgiver – of the Children of Israel.

Two things need to be kept in mind as we continue our Christmas Countdown.

The first is remembering our sacred heritage. Just yesterday at Mass we heard the genealogy of Jesus according to the flesh (so Romans 1:3) from the Gospel of Matthew (1:1-17). And we remember our own sacred heritage -- the one that the Lord has given to us through our family and through his Church (we call this Tradition).

The second is how we respond to God’s call in our own lives, that is, our vocation. This week, in particular, the Gospels refer to a number of calls – Zechariah, Joseph (the Annunciation in Matthew) and Mary, the Blessed Mother of God (the Annunciation in Luke). Look at how each responded to his or her vocation.

They each were perplexed and uncertain. Each chose to believe the message given, even if (with Zechariah) there was some doubt at first. They chose to believe that the God of Israel, who promised and fulfilled the promises from one generation to the next would again fulfill the promise – this time of sending the long-awaited Messiah!

Franciscans prepare for Christmas with particular relish as we set up our Christmas cribs after the example of St. Francis of Assisi at Grecchio way back in the early 1220s. We joyfully celebrate the Incarnation of the Word of God in human history, believing in God’s great love for us and all creation (the whole world) for having sent us his only-begotten Son (see John 3:16).

As Christians we believe that the Law of Moses and the ancient Covenants God established (beginning with Noah, then Abraham, then Moses and again David, concluding with the prophetic hope of a new and eternal covenant [cf. Jeremiah 31]) are fulfilled in the coming of the Lord of Might, Adonai, the one we call Jesus Christ!

He who revealed himself to Moses in the Burning Bush and gave the Law (Torah) to Moses at Mt. Sinai is the same who became incarnate for us and for our salvation.

How do you sense the Lord of Might (Adonai) calling you? How do you respond? Let's re-read the Gospel stories of Joseph’s dream (Matthew 1:18-23), Zechariah’s call (Luke 1:5-25; 57-79) and Mary’s call (Luke 1:26-38). And let's ponder how God is speaking to us as Advent is drawing to a close and Christmas is quickly approaching!

“O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel,
you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and on Mount Sinai gave him your Law.
Come, and with an outstretched arm redeem us!”

1 comment:

Charles of New Haven said...

Thanks for the Scripture-rich reflections, Father. Your blog has been a pleasant discovery this morning, and I've added you to the "Franciscan blogroll" that I maintain. Pax et bonum and merry Christmas!