Advent 2022: Day 8

Luke 7:28-35

28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“ ‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

Ambrose: If someone plucks this reed from the nursery garden of the earth, divests it of what is unnecessary, strips off the old man with his deeds, and fits it to the hand of a swiftly writing scribe,19 it begins to be not a reed but a pen. This pen imprints the precepts of Holy Writ in the inner mind and inscribes them on the tables of the heart. … Imitate this pen in the moderation of your flesh. Do not dip your pen, your flesh, in ink but in the Spirit of the living God so that what you write may be eternal. Paul wrote the epistle with such a pen, of which he says, “You are the epistle of Christ, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.” Dip your flesh in the blood of Christ, as it is written, “that your foot may be dipped in blood.”22 Moisten the footprint of your spirit and the steps of your mind with the sure confession of the Lord’s cross. You dip your flesh in Christ’s blood as you wash away vices, purge sins and bear the death of Christ in your flesh, as the apostle taught us, saying, “bearing about in our body the dying of Jesus Christ.”

Devotional Prayer based on today’s readings

God of grace, on this second Sunday of Advent, we thank you for reminding us that our Lord came to heal the sick, not the “healthy.” He came to dine and enjoy fellowship with sinners, not “the righteous.” Help us to follow his example and precepts by seeking and caring for the least, last, and lost. Cause our hearts to be burdened for such as these. And give us an understanding that we too were in such condition before you sought and saved us in our need.

We pray also for the “righteous” among us. Give them eyes to see their need. Help them understand the folly of depending upon themselves and, instead, turn their trust to you. Enable them to finally comprehend that, in reality, they too are the least, last, and lost as understood by your Kingdom economy, if not our earthy one. Make us all pens in your hands, writing the good news of Jesus Christ and his coming to all who will read us. We thank you for your kindness and mercy in Christ’s name and for his sake. Amen.

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