ADVENT, Week 1: Thursday

“On that day this song shall be sung in the land of Judah: “A strong city have we; he sets up victory as our walls and ramparts...” (Isaiah 26:1.)

Apponius offers the following insight on this verses from today’s First Reading:

“Hence, if they find anyone outside, they beat, wound and rob him1 by not believing in the true flesh of Christ that was nailed to the cross, from whom true blood flowed when pierced by a lance, and by not believing in the true God who bore a true soul and laid it down freely and raised it up freely. Isaiah prophesied about this city and, indeed, demonstrated with his finger, when he said, “Behold, our Savior is a strong city, fortified with walls and bulwarks.

For this reason, it seems to me that the wall3 represents the people who are acquainted with the one omnipotent God, having been brought near to the Word of the Father, about whom Isaiah prophesied, saying, “The Savior is our strong city. A wall and a bulwark is established in him.” This indicates that Christ was shown to be equipped with a true soul and true flesh for the redemption of the world. But those who have already attained greater perfection, who are prepared to have their blood shed for the sake of his name, who by their own example offer unbelievers access to salvation, are compared with gates. For although the Word of God clothed himself with the nature of every human person for the liberation of the human race, it is nevertheless true that anyone becomes the wall or the gate of the prophesied city, that is of Christ, who, bearing God’s image and holding fast to the true faith, merits with his holy works to contain the Word himself, as he promised through the prophet: “I will dwell within them, and I will be their God.” (Exposition of the Song of Songs, 8 and 12.)

Stir up your power, O Lord,
and come to our help with mighty strength,
that what our sins impede
the grace of your mercy may hasten.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen