Today we begin the most intense days of Advent in preparation for Christmas. These are the days on which we sing the "O Antiphons" in the Liturgy of the Hours. They also can be used as part of the "Alleluia" verse before the proclamation of the Gospel. You all know the "O Antiphons"; they make up the verses to that familiar Advent/Christmas carol "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." Each of the antiphons refers in some way to the Messiah, the Christ, and also speaks of how the Messiah impacts our lives.
Today we sing: O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
St. Paul wrote that for those of us who believe, Jesus is the Wisdom of God. But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (I Corinthians 1:23-24) Though Christianity has become one of the main line churches of our country and the world, Jesus is still a stumbling block for man and foolishness for non-believers. In modern parlance, he is counter-cultural. However, for those who understand the mystery of the cross, Jesus is true wisdom. He makes sense of our suffering and of our frustration. When we gaze upon an image of him, our crucified Savior, he reminds us that our lives are not about ourselves. Rather we are called to live for "the Other."
O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature, who willed that your Word should take flesh in an ever-virgin womb, look with favor on our prayers, that your Only Begotten Son, having taken to himself our humanity, may be pleased to grant us a share in his divinity. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator