Friday of the Second week of Advent
Book of Isaiah 48:17-19.
Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.
If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand, and those born of your stock like its grains, Their name never cut off or blotted out from my presence.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
that yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
Not so, the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 11:16-19.
Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.'
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, 'He is possessed by a demon.'
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is vindicated by her works."
Is it not strange, my friends, that God is constantly exhorting us to virtue while we hide ourselves away from this succour and postpone salvation? Doesn't John, too, invite us to salvation? Isn't he altogether a voice that exhorts us? Then let us ask him: “Who are you among men and where do you come from?” He will not tell us he is Elijah and will deny himself to be Messiah but will confess that he is a voice crying in the wilderness (Jn 1:20f.). So who is John? To take an image, allow me to say: a voice to the Word, a Voice to God's Utterance, who exhorts us by crying in the desert...: “Make straight the Lord's paths” (Mk 1:3 par.). John is a forerunner and his voice is forerunner to God's Word, a voice encouraging and predisposing to salvation, a voice exhorting us to seek our heavenly inheritance.Thanks to this voice “the barren and deserted wife no longer lacks children” (cf. Is 54:1). The angel's voice has announced this childbearing to me; this voice was also precursor to the Lord, who brought the good news to the woman without a child (Lk 1:19) as it did to John in the solitude of the desert. Therefore it is by this voice of the Word that the barren woman bears a child in joy and the desert bears its fruit. These two voices, precursors of the Lord, that of the angel and that of John, communicate to me the salvation they conceal in such a way that, after the manifestation of the Word, we gather up the fruit of fecundity, life eternal.
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