O people of Sion, behold, the Lord will come to save the nations, and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard in the joy of your heart. (Second Sunday of Advent, entrance antiphon)
These words of the prophet Isaiah reassure, encourage, and prod us. They reassure us that the Lord will come. Our Advent waiting is not just an empty ritual; there will be a real Coming of the Lord, and his coming will be for our good, to save us. And to save all the nations. God does not desire to save only part of the world (my part); the restoration of the whole world (including the parts and the people I dislike) to communion with God is God’s objective.
This Coming will be announced, just as John the Baptist in today’s gospel announces the coming of Jesus; the voice which brings this message will be a voice of glory, inspiring reverence and awe before the transcendent God. But the announcement of this imminent arrival will not be a cause of cowering fear for us; rather there will be joy in our hearts because this Coming will bring the fulfilment of all that we long for in the core of our being.
As we wait for the final, great Coming of the Lord to bring about this promised reality, let us also listen for that voice of the Lord in our hearts every day, calling us to welcome his coming to us in all the less dramatic but grace-filled advents of our daily lives.
The Gregorian chant version of this antiphon (Populus Sion) can be heard here:
– Sr Eleanor Campion ocso