Bringing light to the spirit

Homily on the readings for Dec. 3, Friday of Advent week I, Memorial of St Francis Xavier

Today’s readings offer us another example of how the coming of Jesus Christ fulfilled the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The first reading speaks of the deaf hearing, the blind seeing, and the lowly and poor rejoicing in the Lord; the Gospel reading recounts one of Jesus’ miracles, healing two poor blind men who then go away spreading word of Him in their joy. But there are other parts to the prophecy as well. One is particularly appropriate for today: the spiritual equivalent of healing the deaf and blind. Isaiah says, “Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.”

Jesus Himself taught the multitudes. He helped many to convert from sin to God, and he taught the self-righteous not to find fault with others by judging harshly while ignoring their own weakness. This kind of spiritual enlightenment is really more important than physical healing. Being blind to daylight won’t keep us out of heaven; being blind to sin will.

Today, we celebrate the memorial of St Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits and a great missionary saint. He dedicated his ministry to bringing spiritual enlightenment to the people of India and Asia, catechizing and baptizing thousands of people, thus giving them the light of Christ.

There are still millions of people in Asia who do not know Christ or who are unable to worship Him publicly and freely because of anti-Christian persecution. In China, where St Francis Xavier was headed when he died, Christians are a small fraction of the population, and many of them are persecuted. And yet, paradoxically, a huge percentage of our Advent and Christmas decorations are made in China. This year, as we put up our holiday decorations, let’s pray that the workers who made them, and all those who do not know Christ or who suffer for their faith, may know the glory of the Way, the Truth and the Light in their lives, and worship Him freely and joyfully.


About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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