In the Light of the Savior Shadows Disappear
I have been thinking that the beautiful readings of Isaiah are like a walk along the Grand Canyon, but very close to the edge and on a narrow path. Or they are like a venus fly trap, alluring but dangerous. Advent is so beautiful, yet its color is violet, a shadow color. During these days of beauty we hear a Savior approaches, but why do we need a savior? That is the shadow.
Isaiah wrote for people in exile who had lost homes and homeland. They had lost a war. Into their gaping wounds Isaiah directs his words: Comfort, give comfort to my people, says the Lord. The time of service is at an end. An exciting trip home is near. And to the spent, weary and faint, Isaiah says that their hope in the Lord will renew them so they will soar as on eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.
If we are on the edge of the canyon or feel the flytrap close, would we think Isaiah’s words a help? Can such hopes come to any of us in exile? To those with no hope they might seem a mockery of their situation; words not worth the breath that speaks them. If we think this way are we relying only on our own resources and power?
The image of the shepherd who carries the lambs in his arms, or who is willing to search for the lost sheep is our savior. We can stumble on the narrow path, we can make the bad choice, we can find ourselves in places where we cannot escape and do not want to be. This is when we need someone to come to our aid, find us, lift us up and embrace us. We cannot save ourselves. It is the Father’s plan that not a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief.
May Advent be all the more beautiful. Our shadows diminish and disappear in the light of this Savior. Renewed we can fly, run or walk, but definitely enjoy the journey. In the Father’s plan there is a Shepherd, God’s love made flesh, who comes to save us. At journeys end we will be in the Father’s house where the banquet of Love awaits us.
Fr. William Murphy, CP is the pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Jamaica, New York.