Bishop Glen John Provost
Bishop of Lake Charles
November 30, 2014
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Lake Charles, Louisiana
First Sunday of Advent
“O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.” Isaiah 64:7
We all know that when we place something under a microscope we magnify the object. We see a specimen in a way that to the naked eye would be impossible. With the aid of magnification we see the components, the details that make up the object of our study.
This Sunday we are placing a slide under the microscope of Advent to see in greater detail the object of our focus, which is Christmas. Advent, you see, is a season of human longing. It is a longing spoken of in Isaiah. “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down” (Isaiah 63:19). For what do we long?
Isaiah is a prophet who proclaims the coming of the Messiah. We might call him a scientist, because he observes the data and draws conclusions from them. Under God’s inspiration the signs indicate something grand will happen. What are these signs? First, God does not forsake His work, for “… we are the clay… the work of [His] hands” (Isaiah 64:7). The craftsman cannot ignore his pottery. The creator cannot forget his creation. We are never alone. We are never put aside. God has never ignored the people He seeks to save. Isaiah’s insight is that God will do this personally.
Isaiah speaks in his prophecy of God’s coming. Isaiah calls out for God to hurry: “… rend the heavens and come down” (Isaiah 63:19). God must come, because, Isaiah writes, “No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:3). Waiting will never be disappointed. God reaches down from the heavens and saves personally. How God will do this not even Isaiah could fully fathom.
Like the patient scientist examining a specimen, eventually the waiting pays off. The object comes into sight. We might have trouble recognizing it at first, but God does not disappoint those who wait for Him.
The object of the quest is nothing less than Jesus Christ. And He comes into focus for those who wait for Him. Jesus uses one word to describe this in the Gospel: “Watch!” (Mark 13:37). We watch because the one coming is so incredibly more than we could have ever wished for. He is truly beyond our every expectation.
Isaiah watched and did so with faith. He knew that God would show Himself. We must watch also. The disciples watched. They did not always understand everything that Jesus did or told them, but they watched. They waited with hope.
Who is Jesus, the object of our search? He is nothing less than the Word of God made flesh. We call this the Incarnation. And as we bring our lens into focus during this Advent, we discover or should discover more clearly who the God made flesh is.
The Incarnation is truly a supreme mystery. For those who come to understand it even partially, it is a Eureka moment. Isaiah’s hope was fulfilled in this moment of Incarnation—“… rend the heavens and come down.” As the Sacred Scriptures tell us: “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Let us watch.
Bishop Glen John Provost