ADVENT, Week 4: Sunday

“But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”” (Isaiah 7:12.)

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

“And Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask and I will not tempt the Lord.’” It is not from humility but from pride that he does not wish to ask for a sign from the Lord. For although it is written in Deuteronomy, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God,” and the Savior would use this as testimony against the devil, when Ahaz was told to ask for a sign he should have fulfilled the commandment in obedience, especially since both Gideon and Manoah sought and received signs. Although it was according to the ambiguity of the Hebrew expression ulo enasse adonai that everyone translated this as “I will not tempt the Lord,” it can also be read as “I will not exalt the Lord.” For the impious king knew that if he had asked for a sign, he would have received one, and the Lord would have been glorified. Like a worshiper of idols, therefore, who sets up altars on all the street corners and on mountains and in forests, he also was a fanatic for capriciousness. He did not want to ask for a sign because he was commanded to do so.” (Commentary on Isaiah, 3.)

Is Ahaz crazy? A reflection on this Sunday’s First Reading.

Pour forth, we beseech You, O Lord,
Your grace into our hearts,
that we,
to whom the Incarnation of Christ Your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by His Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection.
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