Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
As we celebrate the feast of St. Ambrose, we remember also St. Augustine, the Roman emperor’s speech writer who went to Mass to learn from Ambrose’s style of preaching. Ambrose’s proclamation of God’s Word spoke to the mind and heart of Augustine, who had been seeking more in his life. Reflecting back on God’s presence throughout his journey, Augustine later writes that our “heart is restless until it rests in [God]. (Augustine, Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 1.)
Advent focuses our attention on our deep desire for Emmanuel, God with us. We express this desire as a community in this season as we sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The good news that we prepare to celebrate is that the God who created us with a deep desire for God has an even deeper desire to be with us, which God revealed by taking on our humanity. The gospel today reminds us once again of God’s deep desire for us, as Jesus invites people to come to him.
In today’s gospel, Jesus extends the invitation in a particular way to those who labor and are burdened, and they are promised rest. Rest sounds attractive to many at this time of year when the days are short, final exams draw near, and preparations for family celebrations are added to already long “to-do” lists. The invitation in today’s gospel is one of renewal in which Jesus reminds us that at the heart of discipleship is walking with and learning from Jesus. This is not meant to be one more thing to do but rather the foundation of everything that we do. As Pedro Arrupe, SJ (a former superior general of the Society of Jesus) has said, “Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.”
Dr. Angela Senander, Department of Theology