Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Desire of Nations

Wednesday: 12 December, 2102
Zechariah 2:14–17 / Revelation 11:19a, 12:1–6a, 10ab / Luke 1:26–38
The Desire of Nations

Charles Wesley is perhaps my favorite hymn writer. I am often dismayed that the few songs of his which have any visibility are also considerably edited. I guess most people do not not want to sing 6–12 verse hymns (I am seldom like “most people”). Wesley’s very popular Hark! The Herald Angels Sing has this unfamiliar verse:

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

In today’s first reading Zechariah repeats an often repeated prophetic theme: Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they shall be his people....  Even more, Advent brings the prophet Isaiah into prominent focus. Looking ahead to the promised Messianic Servant, God speaks through Isaiah:

It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to restore the preserved of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth (Isa 49:6).

It was not enough that God’s salvation would be given to the Jews. It is not enough that God’s salvation was given to the various European peoples through whom the Faith was extended to this country and hemisphere. Today the Church celebrates the Faith being extended to the common and the poor in Tepeyac, Mexico in an astounding way in 1531.

The gospel is for all peoples, everywhere. God gave his Son. God is at work extending the Faith to the nations. What God was doing with the announcement of the angel –– what God was doing when Mary said May it be done to me according to your word –– is what God is still doing in and through the Church (and you and me as we obey). That is one reason we are here.

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