Remembered by God
(2nd Sunday of Advent: Baruch 5:1-9; Philippians 1:4-11; Luke 3:1-6)
At the end of her Apparition, Our Lady of La Salette rose above the children, as Maximin tried to seize one of the roses around her feet. She seemed to look at the only point on the horizon where one could see beyond the surrounding mountains.
What made me think of this is a sentence in our first reading: “Stand upon the heights; look to the east and see your children gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God.”
I will not claim that Mary was thinking precisely of this text from Baruch but, still, the match is nearly perfect. It was surely just such a vision and hope that inspired her to grace us with her presence.
And there is more. Devoted as we are to the Beautiful Lady, our hearts are attuned to the themes of mourning, glory, peace, worship, mercy and justice, all of which are found in the same reading.
What moves me most powerfully is the image of Jerusalem’s children returning to her, “rejoicing that they are remembered by God.” A similar thought is expressed in Psalm 136:23, “The Lord remembered us in our low estate, for his mercy endures forever.”
A very famous passage from Isaiah 49 says the same, but from a negative perspective. “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”
St. Paul writes to the Philippians, “God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” He not only longs to be with them, but he desires every spiritual good for them. The encounter with God is the goal.
John the Baptist was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, sent to prepare God’s people for just such an encounter. Mary at La Salette carries on the same tradition.
To facilitate the encounter, we need to remove any obstacle that might prevent or even delay it. If we can rejoice that God has remembered us, perhaps then we will never forget him.