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On Very Good Authority


“A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel” ~ Numbers 24:17

The Advent Season would most definitely appear to undergo a definitive shift on the Monday after Gaudete Sunday

Breaking away from the steady scriptural diet of the Prophet Isaiah, we will instead read from the Book of Numbers, Genesis, Jeremiah, and Judges before returning to the Advent Prophet on Friday. From now until Christmas, there will be no Saint Feast Days celebrated at Daily Mass. On Tuesday we will enter into the last seven days of Advent. From that point forward, our priests will pray the Second Advent Preface for the remainder of the Masses during the season, and this preface focuses more on the historic coming of Christ as we naturally switch our attention towards being prepared for Christmas. The “O Antiphons“ will begin on the 17th of December as well, which allow us to glorify the Messiah by way of a number of prophetic titles. For your convenience, they are listed at the bottom of this reflection.

In today’s Gospel (Matthew 21:23-27), Jesus paints the chief priests and elders into the proverbial corner so to speak. And like the politicians they fancy themselves to be, they abandon the discourse for fear of losing the debate or even worse, facing backlash from those they seek to control the crowds who saw the charismatic John the Baptist as a genuine prophet.

The sticking point centered on the matter of authority, wherein the chief priests and elders were essentially asking Jesus “Who do you think you are?” This is a great Gospel to reflect upon during the Advent Season because it not only foreshadows the resistance that Jesus would face virtually every step along the way of his earthly ministry, but it also allows us to consider what Jesus’ authority means in our lives. Whereas the secular world is awash with Christmas Parties and never-ending shopping sprees, those for whom Jesus’ authority reigns are taking this time to focus on repentance coupled with the joyful anticipation of the Messiah. In whom does your hope reside?

Just as Jesus left the religious authorities grappling with their stubbornness of heart, perhaps we too find ourselves in that position from time to time. Although God’s ways are just, they can at times be difficult to adhere to, particularly in the secular environment that prevails today. We must always strive to allow our actions to reflect Jesus’ authority over our lives, and pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to come down upon us so that we can do so. For as Saint Francis de Sales was fond of saying, “The devil fears holy obedience.” May the evil one find this true submissive obedience in you this Advent Season and always. as a baptized child of the King of Kings, he has no authority over you.

Lord, I open myself to You and Your voice of authority. Help me to allow You to speak with clarity and truth. As You do, help me to be open to allowing You to change my life. Jesus, I trust in You.“ ~ Amen

December 17 / O SAPIENTIA
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

December 18 / O ADONAI
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!

December 19 / O RADIX JESSE
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!

December 20 / O CLAVIS DAVID
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!

December 21 / O ORIENS (there’s that looking east again!)
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.

December 22 / O REX GENTIUM
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

December 23 / O EMMANUEL
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!

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