Saturday of the First Week of Advent

Reading Isaiah 30:19-21,23-26
Gospel Matthew 9:35—10:1,5,6-8

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages….

Many of the Gospel passages proclaimed during Advent don’t seem to relate to the birth of Jesus. Today’s passage, for example, concerns the adult Jesus curing the sick, having compassion on the needy, and sending out His Twelve to heal others as He had. We might argue that this passage is more fitting for the time of Pentecost than Advent.

To experience fruitful growth during Advent, however, we have to reflect on the many advents of the Christ. The word “advent” means simply “coming”. To be ready for Christmas demands realizing the many ways in which Christ is to come among man, and within him.

The simplest way to begin realizing Christ’s many advents is to consider an important principle of Christian history and the spiritual life. This principle is expressed in the old saying, “The wood of the crib is the wood of the cross.” In other words, the purpose of Jesus’ Incarnation is His Death and Resurrection.

Many of the events that we hear of in Gospel passages during Advent are about the coming of Jesus’ glory on the Cross. This is a theme spelled out most clearly in St. John’s account of the Gospel. Nonetheless, all the evangelists describe how Jesus’ public ministry is a time of advent: preparing for that Holy Week when Christ entered Jerusalem and so into His glory on Calvary.