Posted by: livingscripture | December 15, 2008

December 15, 2008 Third Monday of Advent

From the Word of the Day

 

I see him, though not now; I behold him, though not near: A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel.          (Numbers 24, 17)

 

How should we live this Word

 

God wills that a pagan announce the birth of the Messiah.  The most ancient biblical texts accept without difficulty that a pagan can validly prophesy.  It is enough that the Spirit of God overshadows him.  This is the case of Balaam.  This man is outside of Israel’s faith, yet he unwillingly announces that a star will appear, that a mysterious king will rise up in Israel.  He feels that he possesses the ‘science of the Most High’, and that he has a ‘penetrating eye’.  The words he pronounces are not his own, but those of God.  He sees with eyes unveiled.  His glance penetrates the years, discerning beyond time and space, the star and the scepter, the Messiah who is to come.

 

‘Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped’.  The first vision is of torn tents and of an army about to be defeated.  But when he looked toward heaven, ‘the spirit of God came upon him’.  From that moment, the scene changes and he is able to sing his poem.

 

We too, in this Advent season, though we may be touched by painful events, by news of war and death, are invited to raise our eyes and to be illumined by hope.  The coming of the Savior is imminent.  It is more certain than the rising of the sun.  Christians know that there is a loving God who takes care of us even to the point of sending His Son to live in our flesh, on our earth, in our history.  It is this God ‘who comes down from the stars’, taking the form of a baby, small and fragile, in order to give us confidence.

 

Today in my pause for silent contemplation, I will seek to raise my eyes and thoughts to hope.  I will think of the beauty of creation, the faces of friends, the tenderness of love and I will await Baby Jesus.

 

The voice of J. B. Metz, Biblist

 

The greatest impediment to recognizing God’s coming is our presumptuous power..

 


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