Today’s Advent Reading:
USCCB – December 11th
There’s a quotation that occasionally pops up in my Facebook news feed. It’s spoken by a college professor and directed towards the professor’s students: “You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you.” Maybe this quotation resonates with you now, as it does with me, as we encounter finals period. Perhaps it is because the quotation resonates with me at this time that I find that it juxtaposes so well with the image of the Lord portrayed in today’s responsorial psalm.
In today’s psalm, the response is “Lord, come and save us.” The similarity between the psalm and the quotation lies in the inclusion of the word “save.” Yet, while the quotation emphasizes saving one’s self, the psalm depicts the Lord “saving” so many types of people in so many different ways. The Lord “secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry . . . sets captives free . . . gives sight to the blind; . . . raises up those who were bowed down . . . loves the just . . . protects strangers . . . the fatherless and the widow he sustains” (Psalm 146:6-10). The list of the people that the Lord saves is long and impressive.
Maybe we are, physically and/or spiritually, like the types of people mentioned in today’s psalm. Maybe we are now, or have been, or will be at some point in our lives, physically “oppressed,” “hungry,” “captive,” ”blind,” “bowed down,” “strangers,” “fatherless,” or “widowed.” Maybe we are now, or have been, or will be at some point in our lives, spiritually “oppressed,” “hungry,” “captive,” ”blind,” “bowed down,” “strangers,” “fatherless,” or “widowed.” Still, maybe we are neither physically nor spiritually the types of people mentioned in the psalm. Whoever we are, we are the types of people that Jesus comes to save. For Jesus comes to save us, all of us.
Maybe today, this week, the rest of this semester, the biggest desire you may have is to finish your paper or to do well on your exam. Yes, to us, it may seem like a petty request compared to a request by the oppressed to be secured justice, a request by the hungry to be given food, a request by the captives to be set free, a request by the blind to be given sight, a request by those bowed down to be raised up, a request by strangers to be protected, and a request by the fatherless and the widowed to be sustained. However, our requests to finish our papers and to do well on our exams are important to God, because, right now, these papers and exams may be some of the most important things going on in our lives. Because God loves each of us, He genuinely cares about the struggles in each of our lives. He does not compare the magnitudes of one person’s struggles relative to those of another person’s struggles. Because of His omnipotence and omnipresence, God is capable of answering everyone’s prayers. No prayer request is too great, or too small, for God.
God excludes the prayers of no one. He answers all prayers in His time and in His way. He is there for us. He sends His only son, Jesus, to us, all of us. Jesus excludes no one. He heals us. He helps us. He saves us. This Advent, we await his coming to us, all of us.
Marina Spinelli ’18 is a Junior in Eliot House studying Human Evolutionary Biology.