Sunday, December 18, 2016


Captain of the house of Israel,
who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush,
and gavest him the law on Sinai: 
Come and deliver us with thine outsretched arm.

Listen HERE

Jeremiah 23:5-8; Matthew 1:18-25

Even people who like travelling say, "How good it is to be home." How much more is this true of those who have been forcibly driven out of their homes or even deported. At this point in the world's history, there are more wandering, homeless refugees than ever.

In today's first reading, the prophet Jeremiah promises that God will give the Israelites a new king, a good king, unlike the previous ones whose behaviour had been responsible for the people's hardships, including their exile. It is said of the new king that he will bring the house of Israel back from all the lands to which they were banished. "They shall again live on their own land." 

In her celebration of the Advent season, the Church calls us back home from our exile, our state of being away from God, of being lost in a world of greed, violence and selfishness.

The other side of this for us is that no matter how well life goes for us, or how well adjusted to it we become, in this world we will always have a sense of exile from our true and lasting home. In fact our REAL exile is self-imposed whenever we try to organize our life around something other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Day after day during the Advent season the Church points us to the coming of Jesus, to make sure that we are focussed on our true home. That true home is, of course, life in eternity with God. The paradox we live between the first and second comings of Jesus is that that same life bursts in upon us here and now wherever Jesus is allowed to be king over our lives.

Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God,
that we, who are weighed down from of old
by slavery beneath the yoke of sin,
may be set free
by the newness of the long-awaited Nativity
of your Only Begotten Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
world without end. Amen.


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