Posted by: livingscripture | December 2, 2009

First Wednesday of Advent

From the Word of the Day

 

You spread the table before me.

                                                      Psalm 23: 5

 How should we live this Word

 This psalm verse connects today’s two readings, providing a frame of serene, peaceful joy.  At the center is a banquet table prepared and served by the Shepherd King.  It is the marriage feast to which all peoples are invited, even those ‘sheep’ that still graze outside the flock.  Surrounding it are green fields but also dark valleys that open on the path of the pilgrim who travels through history directed toward God’s holy mountain.  This is not a poetic description of a future marking the end of our existence, but a situation that exists for all people in all times.  It is a possibility offered to everyone.

 The path is opened by the Shepherd who leads with His rod, reassuring and directing the sometimes uncertain steps of those who follow.  Fear cannot find a home in them, even in the darkest hours of the unavoidable nights and deserts.  Daily one can experience that He has compassion on His people who follow Him or wander aimlessly in the desert, hungry and thirsty for His Word of life, for His presence, perhaps unknowingly.

 Today He turns to us as He once did to His apostles, to take care of this, to break the bread that alone satisfies and that has been given to be multiplied in fraternal sharing.  Then even those far off will be reached by the perfume of the ointment with which He Himself, in the Holy Spirit, consecrates our existence, filling it with grace and joy.

 Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will consider the table that He daily sets for me.  It is the table of material food, the table of instruction, the table of the Word, the table of the Eucharist.  These are the gifts of His foreseeing and provident love.  I cannot but seat myself there with grateful love nor can I ignore the hungry ones around me.

 Lord, You are my Shepherd, I shall not want.  Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil because Your love accompanies me and sustains me.  Happiness and grace flourish in my heart because You are there.

 The voice of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Church Doctor

 You, who have come out of the holy font, have been given a charism, symbol and mark of the unction with which Christ was anointed.  This anointment is the Holy Spirit of which the Blessed Isaiah, speaking in the Lord’s name, prophesied regarding Him, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and has anointed me.  He has sent me to announce glad tidings to the poor’ (Isaiah 61: 1).

 


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