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December 10, 2018: Monday of the Second Week of Advent

Reading Isaiah 35:1-10
Gospel Luke 5:17-26

Our God will come to save us!

The refrain to today’s Responsorial is from the First Reading, from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It’s rare for the Church, in selecting Scriptural texts for Holy Mass, to weave a verse from the First Reading within the proclamation of the Responsorial Psalm. “Our God will come to save us!”

This sentence could serve as the motto for the Season of Advent. It proclaims three things. It proclaims first that God Himself is the Messiah, the one for whom we wait. It’s not a merely human Messiah that we’re waiting for. The sentence also proclaims that He will come: we focus on Him as the object of our hope. Third, He will come to save us. He will come not to punish or lecture us, but to save us.

Salvation, however, itself can have multiple meanings. The first two truths proclaimed by this sentence—that our God will come—lose their meaning if we don’t focus them correctly by understanding what this salvation truly is, and is not.

To be saved implies being saved from something or someone. This is what the sentence, and the whole of Advent, demand that we ask ourselves: if we need salvation, what do we need salvation from?

Today’s Gospel answers this question. Jesus works a miracle to focus our attention not on His ability to work miracles, but on the fact that He is the Messiah. He comes to bring us salvation from our sins. Our Advent prayers, fasting and good works aim to help us enter into today’s Gospel and identify with the man who was lowered on the stretcher. Perhaps the Messiah’s response is unexpected, but it’s what each sinner longs to hear during Advent: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘As for you, your sins are forgiven.’”