all nations shall stream toward “the mountain of the Lord’s house.”
And perhaps you’re wondering to what that refers.
Well, let’s figure it out.
It refers to the “Lord’s House” – that means the temple,
In Jerusalem, built on Mount Zion.
That of course is where Jesus gathered with his Apostles
on the night before he died; and the next day, he completed his “Mass”
with his suffering and death on the Cross.
So if you’re wondering how that prophecy is to be fulfilled:
the answer is in the Holy Mass – what we are doing right now!
Isaiah said that the Word of the Lord would go forth from Zion –
and it did, especially after the Day of Pentecost;
And that all the nations would stream to the Lord’s House –
And that, too, has happened;
the Holy Mass is offered throughout the world,
in every language and nation and tongue,
even when it is very risky for people to take part.
So it is wonderful to consider that this passage has been,
and is being, fulfilled, even as we gather here for Holy Mass!
The emphasis in the Gospel – and in Advent generally –
is on watchfulness for the coming of Jesus.
In a word, Advent is about eternity.
You might say, but I thought it is about Christmas?
But you see, Christmas, too, is about eternity, about heaven,
Because with Christmas, heaven bursts forth on earth,
And we begin to see heaven among us.
So when you and I talk about Jesus’ coming,
It’s not as if he’s now absent from the world.
People will say, “he’s coming back – as if, he’s not here.
I think the reason many people talk that way
Is because they don’t realize Jesus is here, right now:
He never left!
They don’t know what the sacraments are:
That the Holy Spirit enters us in baptism and confirmation;
That Jesus stands with us, in suffering and pain,
in the anointing of the sick;
that marriage makes real, in a flesh-and-blood way,
the love of Jesus for his people.
People don’t realize that Christ truly acts through the priesthood;
And they simply don’t know the truth of what the Holy Mass is,
Of what the Eucharist is: Jesus is here!
It’s really easy for us as Catholics to take all this for granted;
But we must not! These are astounding gifts! Jesus is with us!
So our task as Catholics isn’t to talk about Jesus coming as if he isn't here now –
because he is here now! – but rather, Jesus coming to reign
He is king now, yet he is among us with the greatest patience.
He has the right to command, and yet he continues to invite.
There will come a time when he will take his throne at last,
And the time for his people to hear, and repent, and receive him,
Will finally come to an end.
This is our opportunity: to get our own hearts and lives ready.
The witness of our own readiness – our own seriousness and urgency –
is what will help others to wake up and get serious, too.
I think of the whole issue of global warming and climate change.
Whatever you think about that subject, consider this:
We have movie stars and celebrities who talk about how urgent it is,
and everyone should live simply – but what do they do?
They live like kings and fly all over the world on private jets.
They aren’t very convincing witnesses.
Well: we have lots of people around us who don’t take Jesus seriously.
They don’t know that Jesus is here, now.
Well: are you and I convincing witnesses?
* I made these changes at all Masses for clarity.