Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Reading Isaiah 11:1-10
Gospel Luke 10:21-24

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.”

In today’s First Reading, the verbs “judge” and “decide” are each used twice. The first sentence is negative, in that Isaiah describes how the “root of Jesse” will not judge and decide: that is, “not by appearance”, “nor by hearsay”. In the next sentence, Isaiah gives a positive description of the judgments of the “root of Jesse”. However, these phrases describe not only how he will judge—that is, “with justice” and “aright”—but also for whom he will judge. He “shall judge the poor”, “and decide… for the land’s afflicted.”

These two brief sentences foreshadow the person of Jesus Christ, the awaited Messiah. They also describe those who live in Jesus Christ: those who through the Holy Spirit are empowered to let Christ work through them, and live in them. During Advent, as you wait for the coming of the Messiah, ask yourself—especially as you prepare for the Sacrament of Penance—to what extent Isaiah’s words today describe yourself.

Do you judge the significance of others’ lives, or even the significance of your own life, according to appearances or by hearsay? Or do you judge matters “with justice” and rightly? On your Christmas wish list, have you written the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge and piety, in order to care more about the needs of the poor and afflicted than your own desires, and even your own needs?