I think sometimes our biggest stumbling block to cooperating with God is a feeling that we’re not being told the whole mission in advance. “God, what do you want me to do? I would help so much more if you just clued me in!” But here’s the thing friends, we’ve been told the whole story already. God from the beginning has desired our salvation and reconciliation with Himself, and has revealed the plan again and again: Jesus. This is our final focus for Advent and the crux of our readings this weekend.
The first reading has the prophet Isaiah meeting with King Ahaz of Judah. Scripture records that his reign was disastrous for the Lord’s faithful. Yet, through the words of Isaiah, Ahaz, in all his wickedness, is invited to collaborate in mission with his Creator; and even though Ahaz rejects the invitation, God reveals the coming plan for the salvation of the world.
Paul’s first words to the Romans proclaim the core Gospel message that God sent his long-awaited Son into the world, and through His death and resurrection God’s grace has been poured out. Paul’s powerful testimony to the Gospel ends with his own collaborative efforts inviting the Gentiles into the mission of Jesus through faith in the Gospel message.
Finally, in Matthew’s Gospel, Mary is already with child having given her ‘Yes’ to God’s plan at the Annunciation. But the Lord sends an angel to Joseph to invite the foster-father of Jesus into collaboration as well. Allaying his fears and inviting his trust, Joseph is told of the plan of salvation and cooperates with God, taking Mary (and Jesus!) into his care.
Throughout the readings today, God says over and over through prophets, apostles, and evangelists: join me in this mission! As we conclude Advent and our reflection on our own personal beginnings of faith in Jesus, we have called to mind our life before Christ, our invitation by Christ, our encounter with Christ, and now with all of that foundation, we are called to mission with Christ. Jesus is God’s plan, and Jesus today and every day invites us to go on this mission with him. Wherever we are in our personal walk, we are called to cooperation with God through Jesus.
Written by: Alex Craven, Family Faith Formation Coordinator