Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Happy New Year! Advent is upon us again and this year it is very, very short. Christmas Eve is only three weeks away. It is good that the liturgical year does not follow the calendar year. God and our faith transcend whatever secular culture and history may send our way, so it is appropriate that our “Church Year” gets a head start.
This weekend our readings remind us of our need for God. The latter part of the book of Isaiah is attributed to third Isaiah by scripture scholars. He writes during the time after the people return from exile and before the temple is rebuilt. This is a difficult time, even a lamentable time. Their return home is not what they were hoping for as the whole region has been conquered by the Persians. At this time more than ever they recognize their need for God to provide for their needs and offer them hope. They cry out to God, like helpless children, who know they have done wrong. “O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay and you are the potter: we are the work of your hands.”
So often, our pride gets the better of us. When we acknowledge our sins and turn back to God, he promises to show us mercy and remold us as faithful disciples and humble servants. In his hands, we find our true selves. Without his grace, however, we are lost.