Reflection for Tuesday, December 14, 1999: 3rd week in Advent.

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear.|On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. I will remove disaster from among you, so that none may recount your disgrace.|Yes, at that time I will deal with all who oppress you; I will save the lame, and assemble the outcasts; I will give them praise and renown in all the earth, when I bring about their restoration. At that time I will bring you home, and at that time I will gather you; For I will give you renown and praise, among all the peoples of the earth, When I bring about your restoration before your very eyes, says the LORD. This is a day that offers us fruit for reflection that is simple, full and rich. It is a memorial of John of the Cross. Twenty-six years ago I sat in the confessional where John heard Theresa of Avila's confessions. I have never forgotten the sense of awe I had there. These two sixteenth century saints were "reformers." They knew how "messy" their church was and they set about trying to make concrete changes in their own communities. It was not easy for them, they knew very dark times, but they were faithful in the midst of a mess. That's a grace for me today.|This is still the first half of Advent. So, the first readings guide our reflections. The third chapter of the prophet Zephaniah touches me deeply. I've quoted the remaining verses of the chapter, after our selection for today ends. These promises remind me of the Lord's love for me, when I feel like a "rebellious and polluted, tyrannical city" refusing to "accept correction." That's a comforting grace I need today.|In the Gospel, Jesus gives his "case study" of the two sons and asks, "Which of the two did what the father wanted?" I realize again today that I am like both sons. Sometimes it is easy to say "yes, I will be faithful today" but then not give myself completely to that fidelity, when it gets difficult. I also know those graced moments when I don't really even get around to saying "yes," but find myself being faithful and giving of myself, because it turns out to be what I really want to be and do. I'm grateful for that grace today, as well.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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