Everything that was written long ago in the scriptures was meant to teach us something about hope from the examples scripture gives of how people who did not give up were helped by God. And may he who helps us when we refuse to give up, help you all to be tolerant with each other, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that united in mind and voice you may give glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It can only be to God’s glory, then, for you to treat each other in the same friendly way as Christ treated you. The reason Christ became the servant of circumcised Jews was not only so that God could faithfully carry out the promises made to the patriarchs, it was also to get the pagans to give glory to God for his mercy, as scripture says in one place: For this I shall praise you among the pagans and sing to your name.
The reading from Romans that we will hear on Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of Advent, reminds us that the Scriptures were written and are still proclaimed to teach us something!. We need the word of God to help us respond more and more fully to the invitation of God to grow, to the teaching and example and very person of Jesus, the Word made flesh.
We need instruction, and God ensures we have it, through the inspiration of the authors of Scripture; through the discernment of the Church in recognising certain works as indeed inspired; and through God’s continued indwelling in the word so that when we hear these words proclaimed it is Christ himself who speaks to us.
In this season of Advent it is good to examine of our lives for signs of our having heard the word and our having begun to put it into practice. And if we see there is an absence of practice, then it can be helpful to bring that awareness, and that lack, to God in prayer, acknowledging our continued need for the living Word, for mercy, and for encouragement.
‘The Word and the words’. Signage. La Chiesa di S. Maria in Portico in Campitelli, Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.