Isaiah 2: 1-5
The Future House of God
1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
5 O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
The Joy of Going to the House of the Lord
1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together,
4 Where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to the Testimony of Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 For thrones are set there for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.”
8 For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.”
9 Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.
Put on Christ
11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13 Let us walk decently, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
No One Knows the Day or Hour
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
I had been looking for, and have now found, an online homily that complements each of the Advent lectionaries. This homily is prepared by Reverend Monsignor Russell G. Terra, Pastor Emeritus of Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Redding, CA.
1st Sunday of Advent
“The Realm of the Spiritual”
December 1, 2019
My Brothers and Sisters in the Lord –
Last week I spoke about the sad fact that most of the younger generation do not have the same values that the generations before them had. What I did not mention is how rapidly this godlessness is increasing today.
The latest research reveals that Christians have declined from 77% of Americans to 65% in just the last 10 years! The non-religious affiliated, the “Nones” as they are called, have increased from 16% to 26% within the same time frame! However, what is most significant is that this represents 40% of all Americans under the age of 40!
This is truly alarming! Moreover, if the trend continues, Christian believers will become a minority – and we will, likely, be persecuted for certain values we hold that are non-negotiable!
At the root of the problem for many is a rejection of all things that cannot be physically or materially quantified – including anything that is not scientifically provable. However, this completely eliminates the spiritual. It eliminates what can be called a “5th Dimension”, which is the spiritual realm in which God works and interacts with us. What the non-affiliated risk is the Christian heritage that has sustained our country for almost 250 years – and the Salvation History that is found in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
What is absolutely essential for complete human spiritual development is openness to the Bible and to the spiritual realm which can transform our lives in preparation for the vision of God.
Today’s reading from Isaiah was written before the fall of Jerusalem, 700 years or so before the time of Jesus. The Chosen People no longer led God-centered lives – and their leadership had become corrupt. Catastrophe was coming – but God wished to give hope to the faithful few. So, Isaiah spoke of a future Kingdom of God in symbolic words.
The mountain of the Lord is the realm wherein God dwells. Everyone is invited, and countless will come to this realm. Our vocation is to know God’s ways and to walk God’s
paths. Then we will achieve what is really important. Moreover, there will be the absence of conflict and war – and, instead, eternal peace! However, to get there, we must walk in the light of God’s revelation and grace!
In his Letter to the Romans, St. Paul insists upon the urgency with which we must be prepared and ready for God’s final call to His kingdom. We are to wake up to what is happening around us! We need to recognize our complacency and our failure to see and do what really must be changed in our hearts and lives. Our ultimate reckoning is closer than we think because with each day’s passing, our life here becomes one day less.
Perhaps, many of us have already repented and dealt with our darkest sins and crimes – But what about the subtle things – like our attitude, our behavior toward others, our tone of voice, our failure to communicate, our neglect of those we love, and our addictions that are not drugs, alcohol, or sex – like social media itself?
Once again, we are urged to put on the armor of God’s light and grace – to be able to stand against all darkness satan espouses – satan, who also works in the 5th dimension!
Finally, Jesus teaches us in St. Matthew’s Gospel that his coming for us will be without much or any warning at all. This might be at our own death – or at his universal final coming at the end of the world. Jesus will come, besides business as usual for Wall Street, our jobs, our politics, our recreation, our family life, and our usual daily activity. But come he will – and take us, he will!
Brothers and Sisters, those who truly believe and recognize the realm of the spiritual, know that God makes overtures toward us at every moment. God comes again and again in special ways throughout our lives. One of these is His annual coming at Christmas with the birth of His Son in human form.
So, let us prepare for this wonderful gift and for all that God continues to give to us!
December 1, 2019 Msgr. Russell G. Terra