Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Today’s readings invite us to reflect on health and healing: among other things, how important curing and caring for the ill are to Jesus’ announcement, and the Church’s continuing proclamation, of God’s Kingdom. Pope Francis’ metaphor of the Church as a “field hospital” (not combatant), bringing healing and hope to the wounded and dying, brilliantly illuminates this theme, and its deeper import. As does the 4th century Advent hymn Veni redemptor gentium (“Come redeemer of the nations”), composed by St. Ambrose of Milan, whose feast we celebrate today. It’s seventh stanza is particularly apt for our times:
Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
And darkness breathe a newer light,
Where endless faith shall shine serene,
And twilight never intervene. (tr. J.M. Neale)
Paul J. Wojda, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theology