When we read the First Reading and the Gospel, there are at least three words that are repeated. The word spirit is repeated many times in the First Reading. Where it repeats the spirit of the Lord resting on the shoot from Jesse. It also says his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. The Gospel says Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit when he heard the seventy tell him what they did. At the start of the chapter, Jesus sends these seventy to cities and places where he was to come. They came back reporting that even the demons are subject to them in his name, to which Jesus tells them to rejoice that your names are written in heaven and not because the spirits are subject to them. This is the reason we rejoice, because we will join Jesus in heaven.
Another word that is repeated in these two readings is knowledge. The First Reading says the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord while Jesus said in the Gospel: no one knows the Son except the Father or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. The Spirit of God gives knowledge to those who follow the Lord.
The last word is repeated twice in the Gospel: reveal. The Father reveals things to infants and Jesus said we will know the Father only when he chooses to reveal him. With these three words, we see today’s theme:
- Delight. We are to delight in the fear of the Lord. When Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, he shows us how it is to delight in the fear of the Lord. It is to acknowledge the Father as he is: Lord of heaven and earth who hides things from the wise but reveals them to infants.
- Knowledge. This knowledge of the Lord is knowledge of God. This is our eventual goal in life. Knowledge is not intellectual knowledge but intimate knowledge or full and complete knowledge of God as a person.
- Reveal. This full knowledge of God is only possible when Jesus reveals the Father. We can do all we want, but in the end, it is the Father’s revelation of himself that allows us to know him fully.
During this Advent season, we look forward to fully knowing God by waiting for Jesus to reveal him. And Jesus reveals him every moment of our lives. When a baby is in the mother’s womb, the baby can interact with people outside the womb, but in a limited way. However, when the baby is born, there is full interaction. The baby can smell, touch, taste, see and hear those who interact with him. Advent is a season where we interact with God in a limited way because God “hides” himself from us so we can search for him more. This is not because God needs our attention, but to teach us that he is the only One that matters in our life. This interaction becomes full when God reveals himself through Jesus Christ. God wants to reveal himself to little ones, to those who rely on him, who long to know him fully.
God my Father, let me delight in the fear of you, in fully knowing you just as you reveal yourself to me. May I learn to accept you as you are, to recognize you as the Lord of heaven and earth. Lord Jesus, let me know you so I can know the Father. Holy Spirit, teach me to fear God so I can know him fully.