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Advent Tuesday 1 - Happy eyes and happy ears

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72; Luke 10:21-24

‘Happy the eyes that see what you see’

Advent is a season of quiet joy – a time of waiting in confidence. The flicker of light on the Advent wreath symbolises the light that blazes in the darkness of our lives. It is this same joy that Jesus experienced in the Gospel of Luke when he was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit. So filled, he was moved to exclaim: ‘I bless you Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.’ What a cause for joy! That we may know the deepest experience of joy as children of God.

I recently encountered a person for whom this text was difficult. A man of great learning, he asked me why God would wish to deprive the learned and the clever from the deepest realities. How could God prejudice any group? Yet he had no cause for fear. There is no shame in great learning, and there is a nobility in searching out the greatest of truths in this way.

But the joy we are waiting for in Advent is not to be found in library catalogues, weighty tomes, or the Google search engine. The things that cause this joy and that enlighten our darkness are given to us children, to whom the Son chooses to reveal them. This is why our eyes are happy and our ears are happy – they see what many have longed to see. Simeon in the Temple was able to attain his rest when he saw that light to enlighten the Gentiles. How many people today spend time at library catalogues (or, once again, on the Google search engine) looking for truth, longing to see what we see, and never seeing it, to hear what we hear, and never hearing it?

Our salvation is at hand, and we await in hope. Our joy in him is great: ‘He took to himself the poverty of my flesh so that I might obtain the riches of his Godhead. He who is full empties himself. He emptied himself of his godhead for a brief time that I might share in his fullness’ (St Gregory Nazianzen).


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