First Sunday of Advent - Year B
WE ARE THE CLAY
Clay was the plastic of ancient times. It could be formed by hand or in molds to any shape and then permanently fixed in that condition by heat. Until casting in an oven it could be reformed in any format. Clay was cheap and readily available. Potters learned to work with it to the right consistency for shaping. They might use a wheel to turn it for symmetrical formats. It was used for bowls, jugs, bottles and other containers. If broken it could be replaced easily.
Isaiah likens the work of a potter to the reformation of our souls by God. If we turn out badly, God can reshape us at will. With God's grace we can change at any point in our lives until we are "fixed" in shape by death.
Happy New Year! The Church's calendar begins today. The word "Advent" means "coming" and starts with a message similar to the theme of last week's Mass. Be ready and watch for the coming of Jesus. This can be understood in three ways.
First, we anticipate Christ's advent on Christmas. We transcend the materialism of the modern world by a focus on the real meaning of the feast: God enters human existence in a totally personal way.
Second, we look forward to Jesus' arrival in our lives through the blossoming of our faith. We bring his body into the world through our union with him in the communion of saints.
Finally, we speculate on the end of this universe at the conclusion of time. The universe is not self-sustaining. Eventually it will terminate in some sort of extinction. Time is finite. It will reach a culmination either in a vast cataclysm or total dissolution. Then the real universe will begin in God.
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