Illuminating Advent: The Word Made Flesh • Seeing

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

 

WEEK THREE•DAY Four

The Word Made Flesh
John 1:1-14

Word Made Flesh, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Word Made Flesh, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Seeing

The illumination of the incarnate golden Christ beckons. Christ, standing against the cosmos, is solid, yet delicate. This is an ideal prelude for the birth of Jesus. A dying star hangs at the top of the illumination. Millions of years later, after this star morphs into a black hole, the earth will still receive its light. So too with Jesus, though his physical body is gone, he remains a brilliant source of life and light for us even today.  

The Lord’s presence, symbolized by gold in The Saint John’s Bible, is bold. It is hard to take my eyes off of the sparkly figure. It is a stunning, yet haunting illumination. I am taken with his transparency and causal stance. Where are his hands and feet? Jesus seems to open himself to us in the illumination. I wish I could see his face. I want to talk to him. I wonder why Jesus is so transparent. I want to touch him. I want Jesus to stay but it looks as if he is on the move. Or is that me? My busyness makes it difficult to contemplate Jesus and my life with him.  

On the left side of the illumination is a mysterious keyhole. Its placement seems worthy of taking the time to ponder. The key to the door may open us to the birth of the Christ Child. What else might the key unlock? During this Advent there is still time to look, listen and get in touch with his grace and truth and to find the gifts that Jesus brings into the world through his birth.

 


Susie Kuszmar is a Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master of Arts degree in Adult Christian Community Development from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She is a newly retired Mission Vice President from Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, California, and a very thankful wife, mother and grandmother.


Illuminating Advent: The Word Made Flesh • Meditating

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

 

WEEK THREE•DAY THREE

The Word Made Flesh
John 1:1-14

Word Made Flesh, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Word Made Flesh, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Meditating

Imagine the miracle: The Word breathed life, and the world came into being. The Word became a living being—a true light illuminating our very existence. Experiencing times of anxiety, fear, and loneliness is part of the human condition. These feelings can erode us, leaving empty holes that can so easily be filled with darkness. But there is always an alternative! Words are powerful; a caring and compassionate word can pull us out of an unbearable situation into a place of light and peace. Jesus was famous for His healing words. Remember the story of the Centurion asking Jesus to heal his sick servant? Jesus responded, saying, “Only say the word and my servant will be healed” (Matt 8:8).

So it was in the beginning. The Word created a new earth filled with life and light, where His grace and truth prevail. It is striking that this combination of grace and truth does not appeal to all people. Sometimes we reject it. Personally, when I choose to act in darkness rather than light, a shadow hangs over me and drains my spirit. However, the Word has come to open the gate where light and life flow back to me and set me free. Positive changes are possible for all of us when the Word becomes deeply seeded in our hearts. The Word is so much more than a word. The Word is life itself. May our words model the grace and truth that Jesus has offered us and be a source of ongoing life for others and this world.

 


Susie Kuszmar is a Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master of Arts degree in Adult Christian Community Development from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She is a newly retired Mission Vice President from Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, California, and a very thankful wife, mother and grandmother.


 

Illuminating Advent: The Word Made Flesh • Listening

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

 

WEEK THree•DAY TWO

The Word Made Flesh
John 1:1-14

Word Made Flesh, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Word Made Flesh, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Listening

“In the beginning…” This first line of the Gospel of John may have you wondering if you are reading Genesis. Here is a stand up, pay attention phrase, shared to introduce an important event. The incarnation story unfolds right before our eyes. At the center of this passage is the everlasting gift of light that overpowers darkness. John the Baptist co-stars as a staunch herald of the power of this light. He bears witness to the incarnation and the Word, who becomes flesh and lives among us in the person of Jesus.  

This reading from the Gospel of John offers a dichotomy, that even today, is both confounding and hopeful. Some of God’s own creations do not accept or recognize Him. Nevertheless, day after day God continues to offer the opportunity for all to become God’s faithful children.  

This week let us recognize that we were uniquely fashioned by God. Let us claim this truth and cling to the Lord’s light, which overcomes darkness. Let us look forward to basking in the warmth of the Christmas story that reveals the incarnation.

 


Susie Kuszmar is a Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master of Arts degree in Adult Christian Community Development from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She is a newly retired Mission Vice President from Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, California and a very thankful wife, mother and grandmother.


 

Illuminating Advent: The Word Made Flesh

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

 

December 13, 2015 – December 20, 2015

Week Three•Day onE

Reading

John 1:1-14

Listen to what word God has for you.

 

WEEK THREE•DAY two

Listening

“In the beginning…” This first line of the Gospel of John may have you wondering if you are reading Genesis. Here is a stand up, pay attention phrase, shared to introduce an important event. The incarnation story unfolds right before our eyes. At the center of this passage is the everlasting gift of light that overpowers darkness. John the Baptist co-stars as a staunch herald of the power of this light. He bears witness to the incarnation and the Word, who becomes flesh and lives among us in the person of Jesus.  

This reading from the Gospel of John offers a dichotomy, that even today, is both confounding and hopeful. Some of God’s own creations do not accept or recognize Him. Nevertheless, day after day God continues to offer the opportunity for all to become God’s faithful children.  

This week let us recognize that we were uniquely fashioned by God. Let us claim this truth and cling to the Lord’s light, which overcomes darkness. Let us look forward to basking in the warmth of the Christmas story that reveals the incarnation.

 

WEEK THREE•DAY Three

Meditating

Imagine the miracle: The Word breathed life, and the world came into being. The Word became a living being—a true light illuminating our very existence. Experiencing times of anxiety, fear, and loneliness is part of the human condition. These feelings can erode us, leaving empty holes that can so easily be filled with darkness. But there is always an alternative! Words are powerful; a caring and compassionate word can pull us out of an unbearable situation into a place of light and peace. Jesus was famous for His healing words. Remember the story of the Centurion asking Jesus to heal his sick servant? Jesus responded, saying, “Only say the word and my servant will be healed” (Matt 8:8).   

So it was in the beginning. The Word created a new earth filled with life and light, where His grace and truth prevail. It is striking that this combination of grace and truth does not appeal to all people. Sometimes we reject it. Personally, when I choose to act in darkness rather than light, a shadow hangs over me and drains my spirit. However, the Word has come to open the gate where light and life flow back to me and set me free. Positive changes are possible for all of us when the Word becomes deeply seeded in our hearts. The Word is so much more than a word. The Word is life itself. May our words model the grace and truth that Jesus has offered us and be a source of ongoing life for others and this world.

 

WEEK THREE•DAY Four

Seeing

The illumination of the incarnate golden Christ beckons. Christ, standing against the cosmos, is solid, yet delicate. This is an ideal prelude for the birth of Jesus. A dying star hangs at the top of the illumination. Millions of years later, after this star morphs into a black hole, the earth will still receive its light. So too with Jesus, though his physical body is gone, he remains a brilliant source of life and light for us even today.  

The Lord’s presence, symbolized by gold in The Saint John’s Bible, is bold. It is hard to take my eyes off of the sparkly figure. It is a stunning, yet haunting illumination. I am taken with his transparency and causal stance. Where are his hands and feet? Jesus seems to open himself to us in the illumination. I wish I could see his face. I want to talk to him. I wonder why Jesus is so transparent. I want to touch him. I want Jesus to stay but it looks as if he is on the move. Or is that me? My busyness makes it difficult to contemplate Jesus and my life with him.  

On the left side of the illumination is a mysterious keyhole. Its placement seems worthy of taking the time to ponder. The key to the door may open us to the birth of the Christ Child. What else might the key unlock? During this Advent there is still time to look, listen and get in touch with his grace and truth and to find the gifts that Jesus brings into the world through his birth.

 

WEEK THREE•DAY Five

Praying

Lord, you must make yourself shine like gold for me to pay attention. You must sparkle so much that I will stop in my tracks to look at you. I wonder why it is that I don’t make you a priority. Rather I often just try to fit you into the cracks of my life. When I fix my gaze on this illumination I am reminded of the gift you are to me. This image lacks hands and feet. What are you trying to tell me? My head keeps filling with the hymn based on words from St. Teresa of Avila:

“Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world, yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world… You are his body. Christ has no body now but yours…”

Thank you, Lord, for coming. Thank you for sharing your flesh and blood. Help me to offer your love and compassion in this world. Unlock in me that which resists a more authentic relationship with you. Implant your Word on my heart. Amen.   

 

WEEK THREE•DAY Six

Contemplating

Gold upon gold shimmers throughout this illumination. God’s presence is in every fleck. When an artist applies gold leaf onto a page, one’s mere breath can send the gold flying in the atmosphere. In order to keep this precious material in place, windows and doors must be secured. No quick motions or unplanned actions can occur. The atmosphere must be regulated so that the gold does not dissipate. These demands of using gold may not seem compatible with our life, where changes abound.  Twists and turns, depths and valleys are traveled year after year.

Is gold compatible with our perception of Jesus? The illumination seems to be open, moving and incorporating the whole of the cosmos. Perhaps the pure gold of Jesus’ figure is meant to fly in a billion different directions in order to touch every person on earth. Jesus’ incarnation reflects his relationship with us. The micro specks of his golden presence abound in our lives every day and permeate our existence.  We are part of him and he is part of us. The kingdom of God lives today, on earth, through us. Gold is everywhere.       

 

WEEK THREE•DAY Seven

Becoming Christ-like

The Word is divine. Yet Jesus, the Word, also lived among us and was fully human. Like us, he experienced thoughts, feelings, loves and losses. He understands us. The Word continues today to echo and impact in our lives. Darkness may surround us and convince us this is our lot, yet Christ is still present. As his disciples, we can offer each other words of comfort and acts of mercy. We can visit the sick, the lonely, and those imprisoned by all sorts of darkness. We can offer a smile, a hug, a can of soup, a prayer or a note. What do you do best? Offer your gold.

May we be comforted by the fact that Christ’s life and light will never abandon us. May we be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus in our communities. When darkness befalls us, let us be open to receive the light from each other. We are in this together. We can hold a candle in the darkness and be assured of an eternal source of fuel for the light.  

Let this week’s illumination enliven you as you claim the grace and receive the gold that is available as quickly as the flutter of a heartbeat. As you sit by the fire in adoration, may your spirit be rekindled during this amazingly warm season.

 


Susie Kuszmar is a Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master of Arts degree in Adult Christian Community Development from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She is a newly retired Mission Vice President from Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, California and a very thankful wife, mother and grandmother.


Illuminating Advent: Messianic Predictions • Becoming Christ-like

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

 

WEEK two•DAY SEVEN

Messianic Predictions
Isaiah 7:13-14, 9:6-7

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Becoming Christ-like

Where does this now bring me?  This passage and illumination give me an opportunity to reflect on the anticipation that is building up within me: that Christ is being born in my everyday experience.  It edges me toward this year of mercy where “we find proof [that] God loves us…and comes to our aid whenever we call” (Misericordiae Vultus, 14).

As I pray with this, I realize the honor that we have today.  Isaiah did not know the name of the child whose authority rests on his shoulders.  We do and this is comforting.  We know this person and he comes to bring light to the world. That work of bringing light continues in each one of us.  People of God, why is it so hard to shout that God is Lord?  We are the “herald of glad tidings” and the “herald of good news.”

One of my family traditions is the celebration of Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi—Mass in the night—a novena of Masses in the days preceding Christmas, originating from the Philippines.  For nine days at 5 am, I approach the tables of Word and Sacrament to prepare my heart for the Christmas season. After each liturgy, with the assembly, I am sent forth spiritually nourished in order to greet the Advent morning complete with indigo hued sky, and barely awake drivers!

This week, I prayed noticing the winter season in which Advent coincides.  I look forward to continuing this Advent with the fullness of my being, where the night sky gives way to the sun with rays of hope.  My prayer for you is this: let us not sit idly waiting, hoping, longing.  We as the people of God need to move, and to do so with joy.  May we find ways to shout that joy of “Mighty God” from the rooftops, or whisper “Prince of Peace” into the ears of a young one, or yet share the joy of “Wonderful Counselor”” with someone in need.

Maranatha; let us dream together.

 


John Michael Reyes is a Campus Minister at Santa Clara University.  He received a Master of Divinity degree from the Graduate Theological Union (JST and FST). Prior to SCU, he worked as Liturgist and Chapel Coordinator at Seattle University. Additionally, in recent years, he has served as a liturgy coordinator for the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. He hopes to be able to study at Saint John’s School of  Theology and Seminary some day.


Illuminating Advent: Messianic Predictions • Contemplating

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

 

WEEK two•DAY Six

Messianic Predictions
Isaiah 7:13-14, 9:6-7

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Contemplating

When I first gazed at this illumination, I had a negative reaction.  I could not get a handle on what was going on because there was only so much that my eyes could take.  As I prayed with the other movements, I shifted in my prayer.  Contrary to the movement of energy and swiftness that occurred as I prayed during the week, the word that is now surfacing is “slowness.”  This echoes back to the words I first chose in the process.

Why slowness?  The spirit guided me to think of the illumination as one in slow motion, like a “freeze frame.”  I am given a glimpse into heavenly movements of praise and adulation syncopated with the “the beating heart of the gospel, which is mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, 12).  This illumination—what I thought was an obstacle to prayer—is actually one that brings forth the holy mystery of how time is but a human thought.  In the midst of the illumination’s movement and holy chaos, the words of the prophet ring true and it settles me into what the prediction’s essence is about: God with us.

There is peace emanating from the bottom half, almost as if that portion connects easily to earthly eyes.  The parts with undulating hallelujahs and names of God are part of the heavenly realm, where the love of God is so intense and the perichoresis of the Trinity enables all in heaven (and earth!) to dance.  It is as to what Anne Dillard writes:

Angels, I read, belong to nine different orders. Seraphs are the highest; they are aflame with love for God, and stand closer to him than the others. Seraphs love God…. The seraphs are born of a stream of fire issuing from under God’s throne. They are, according to Dionysius the Areopagite, “all wings,” having, as Isaiah notes, six wings apiece, two of which they fold over their eyes. Moving perpetually toward God they perpetually praise him, crying “Holy, Holy, Holy…. But according to some rabbinic writings, they can sing only the first “Holy” before the intensity of their love ignites them and dissolves them again, perpetually, into flames (Holy the Firm, Harper & Row, 1977).

May we continue to seek God’s signs from this time and forevermore because the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 


John Michael Reyes is a Campus Minister at Santa Clara University.  He received a Master of Divinity degree from the Graduate Theological Union (JST and FST). Prior to SCU, he worked as Liturgist and Chapel Coordinator at Seattle University. Additionally, in recent years, he has served as a liturgy coordinator for the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. He hopes to be able to study at Saint John’s School of  Theology and Seminary some day.


 

Illuminating Advent: Messianic Predictions • Praying

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

 

WEEK two•DAY five

Messianic Predictions
Isaiah 7:13-14, 9:6-7

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Praying

The first gift we were given besides our breath was our name.

And so, dear God, we lift up our souls and cry out,

“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”

The winds hush us, encouraging us to bundle up, to wait and be patient, to long,

although the world we live in says, “Hurry!  Shop!  Keep busy!”

Give us the boldness to grow continually

and to keep on asking you what we most desire.

As our world pains from distresses like terrorism, fear and uncertainty

give our hearts that deep comfort,

as deep as the indigos of Advent sunrises,

and the abiding peace, which you alone can fill for eternity.

Anchor us with your love and grace in our moments of fragility.

As we recall your coming as a child, of spirit meeting flesh,

help us to see you in the beggar on the corner,

the refugee, the outcast, the lonely, the hopeless and the doubter.

Let us await with joyful expectation

those moments that call us out of our ordinary

into moments where a glimmer of your heavenly kingdom shines through

and we share in the foretaste of heavenly joy.

May our broken world turn towards you,

aching for that bearer of hope and restorer of spirit.

May we be like Mary, willing servants

who say yes to bear your image and likeness,

and be healing balm for our communities.

May we also be like Joseph,

who dreamed dreams and helped accomplish the plan of salvation.

And so with Advent hope,

may we be powerfully transformed

to continue sharing the love and presence you have promised.

May we come to Christmas,

and all the days of our lives,

with hearts filled with the light that can bring peace.

This we ask through Jesus, Emmanuel,

and through your many and holy names, now and forever.

Amen.

 


John Michael Reyes is a Campus Minister at Santa Clara University.  He received a Master of Divinity degree from the Graduate Theological Union (JST and FST). Prior to SCU, he worked as Liturgist and Chapel Coordinator at Seattle University. Additionally, in recent years, he has served as a liturgy coordinator for the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. He hopes to be able to study at Saint John’s School of  Theology and Seminary some day.


 

Illuminating Advent: Messianic Predictions • Seeing

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

WEEK two•DAY Four

Messianic Predictions
Isaiah 7:13-14, 9:6-7

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Seeing

When I asked God to open my eyes to the illumination, it was not toward a particular color or shape.  Rather, the illumination evokes in me feelings of movement and energy, resembling the hustle and bustle of the red carpet of Hollywood, and triumphant sounds of trumpet blasts.  You can almost hear Handel’s Messiah breaking through the ink and page. Humor me (and I mean this with all due respect), but it feels like a Tetris game meets Picasso as the pointed shapes and the circles fall into each other.

Advent occurs when the weather is frigid, on the cusp of the tail end of the autumn season, when days are shorter and light is a true gift. This illumination is contrary to that—the messianic predictions create a movement of energy, of light and warmth.  I enter into the Paschal Mystery because although the Advent liturgy is shaped by our longing and waiting, this illumination is an explosion of movement that alludes almost to the joy and excitement of Easter.

The circles of gold, bordered by the various titles, to me, allude to the rose windows of old European cathedrals. These in turn echo intricate evergreens that shape advent wreaths, a home devotional that has found its way into liturgical communities. These beautiful circles of greenery give way to the progressively consuming light of candles, as the winter nights grow longer.

The hints of blue all around allow me to celebrate God’s promise of mercy with Mary, one of the important Advent characters, whom God has chosen.  Further, the blue brings me to a place of prayer by connecting with Mary’s Magnificat.  And so in this promise of mercy to be with us, the gold throughout the illumination allows us to shout our praises that God is entering our world as we cry out, Maranatha!


John Michael Reyes is a Campus Minister at Santa Clara University.  He received a Master of Divinity degree from the Graduate Theological Union (JST and FST). Prior to SCU, he worked as Liturgist and Chapel Coordinator at Seattle University. Additionally, in recent years, he has served as a liturgy coordinator for the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. He hopes to be able to study at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary some day.


 

Illuminating Advent: Messianic Predictions • Meditating

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

 

WEEK two•DAY Three

Messianic Predictions
Isaiah 7:13-14, 9:6-7

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Meditating

The words that I am holding are “shall grow.” As a whole, the passage contains comforting words to hear as our world is still healing from terrorism and acts of violence. In a season where the weather reminds us of our longings and the darkness we feel, this passage brings an energy and light that is needed so that we can “run forth to meet…Christ” (Collect, Advent I, Roman Missal). More so, it allows us to remember the importance of the season in preparation for Christmas.

The prophecy of an infant, whose authority grows with peace, that is foretold by the Prophet is palpable. It is a sign of God’s faithfulness in human form! (“You mean the Holy is going to be touchable?!”)

I appreciate the four titles attributed to the messiah, which are bold and yet soothing, timeless and yet looking forward.  I wonder with curiosity what other names Isaiah would include—what about you?  These titles highlight an anticipation in which our community can broach the fear of mystery that all Christians share as we wait for the Lord’s Second Coming.  We are longing for the joyful moment, of loving communion with God. Further, these titles give a face to the invisible God. We can enter into this Year of Mercy, for in these titles we can claim that “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, 1).

Advent is a season to remember God’s promises and to see those promises again with renewed eyes and faith.  We know that Christ has come and will come again.  I appreciate that we celebrate Advent with this reality, acknowledging that there is an “advent going on” in ourselves at all parts of the year.  And so it leads us to a response of trust in the presence of God with us.  We should ask ourselves whether or not our eyes are wide open, knowing that God is already in all things.

 


John Michael Reyes is a Campus Minister at Santa Clara University.  He received a Master of Divinity degree from the Graduate Theological Union (JST and FST). Prior to SCU, he worked as Liturgist and Chapel Coordinator at Seattle University. Additionally, in recent years, he has served as a liturgy coordinator for the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. He hopes to be able to study at Saint John’s School of  Theology and Seminary some day.


 

Illuminating Advent: Messianic Predictions • Listening

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.

 

WEEK two•DAY Two

Messianic Predictions
Isaiah 7:13-14, 9:6-7

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Listening

Have you ever needed something, but were too hard-headed or embarrassed to ask? This passage from Isaiah sets us up for that.  Some context: the people of Judah were in trouble and their leader, King Ahaz, needed help to protect his people from forces who wanted to invade Jerusalem and replace him with a so called “puppet king”, thus destroying the Davidic lineage of which he was a part. Yet, Ahaz did not want to bother God.  Have you ever felt that way—not wanting to be a burden but not knowing what to do otherwise?

Ahaz did not want to test God.  Ahaz was timid and lacking the faith that was demanded of him.  Nevertheless, God had other things in mind, which he provided.  By refusing God’s offer, Ahaz refuses to trust God.  Through the prophet Isaiah, God offers a sign that lacks restrictions cf. verse 11.

How awesome that we have this reading during the Advent Season when we recall “God with us”, and God’s promises of ongoing faithfulness to be with us are remembered.  This text reminds us of faithful patience and of responding to unexpected help.  There is a hopeful future in a leader whose vision and authority will shine as a message of hope.  As we will pray throughout the week, this text beckons us to respond with trust to the gracious and unexpected presence of God.

 


John Michael Reyes is a Campus Minister at Santa Clara University.  He received a Master of Divinity degree from the Graduate Theological Union (JST and FST). Prior to SCU, he worked as Liturgist and Chapel Coordinator at Seattle University. Additionally, in recent years, he has served as a liturgy coordinator for the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. He hopes to be able to study at Saint John’s School of Seminary and Theology some day.