A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Quoting Handel’s Messiah

In the “post-Christian” world in which we live, it would not be surprising for someone to hear today’s first reading (Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11) and wonder why the Church was using all these quotes from Handel’s Messiah: “Comfort ye.... Every valley.... And the glory.... O thou that tellest.... And he shall feed his flock....”

Most of us understand, of course, that it was the other way around: Handel’s libretto is taken from the Church’s traditional selection of texts associated with Christ.

Many Christians (and even some non-Christians) lament the increasing secularization and even anti-religious tendencies of today’s culture.

Some do more than lament: standing and peacefully fighting to uphold proper public expressions of faith – most especially at this time of year in connection with Christmas.

But this state of affairs is more than a cause to lament or to do battle: the “post-Christian” culture it is an opportunity to evangelize anew.

So it has happened many times during the two millennia of Christianity: the failures of men and the forces of this world lay waste where the faith once flowered, yet the seeds of faith remain and are nurtured by the warm earth of the Holy Spirit, waiting only to be watered by a new generation of evangelists before flowering again.

We – called by Christ to be citizens of the new and heavenly Jerusalem -- can be these evangelists: the heralds of good news (in the words of today’s first reading).

Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain…
herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice…
herald of good news!

Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities…
Here is your God!