Year B: Year of Mark
Third Sunday in Advent
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-2,10-11
The opening words of todayís First Reading were known and loved by Jesus. He used them about Himself when He first embarked on His public ministry - seeing Himself as the one who was to fulfil the prophecy - the one who would proclaim the Lordís year of favour.
The Jubilee was given to the Hebrew people as a time of renewal and restoration. It was demanding as it reminded them that the land did not belong to them but to God - and that they had been in slavery and only liberated by the power of God. They were to restore land - liberate slaves - cancel debt. Needless to say - the Lordís year of favour was seldom celebrated.
However, it remained something deep within the souls of the people - the vision of a time when all things would be restored. They yearned for the time when God would come and clothe the people in salvation and integrity - when new life would spring up among them.
Then, they would exult in God - rejoice in the great things that God has done for them.
The people never lost the dream - especially the poor and those often called the Remnant - the few who lived in the sure and certain hope that God would fulfil His promises.
Unusually, today, we do not have a Psalm in response to the First Reading. We have, instead, a canticle - the song of Mary - the Magnificat.
Mary was one of those who never lost sight of Godís promise - and, so when the angel spoke of Spirit of the Lord coming upon her, she was able to receive it with openness and lack of fear. In fact, her whole being was filled with joy as the child grew within her - for here was the one who was to be the bringer of an eternal Jubilee - an everlasting year of Godís favour.
What does it mean for me?
How can we uphold the vision of what the Spirit can do in the world - especially when many in the world seems so lacking in hope and confidence in the future?© 2008 Wellspring