"[On that day], the Lord’s glory will be shelter and protection: shade from the parching heat of day, refuge and cover from storm and rain." (Isaiah 4:6)
Though we often think of Advent as a time for spiritual preparation for Jesus's birth, the Church's readings actually spend most of the season focusing on Jesus's coming in everyday life and at the end of time.
In fact, the Gospels only begin to speak of Jesus's nativity beginning on December 17th.
We too must use this season to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord who passes by us a thousand times a day, most notably in the sacraments and in the lives of those who suffer.
In today's Gospel reading, a centurion--who is a high ranking official in the Roman army--comes to Jesus and seeks the healing of his servant.
Jesus, the one who heals wounds and warms hearts, responds with generosity and brings the man back to health.
In this encounter, we begin to see the ethos of Jesus's ministry. Though he was a Jew, Jesus's acts of mercy and healing were not reserved just for the people of Israel, but available to all persons--even the Romans who were the avowed enemy of the Jewish people.
The prerequisite it seems then for an encounter with Jesus isn't a certain religious and cultural identity, but a spirit of generosity and an openness to God.
As we go through our day today, we can ask ourselves: are we open to seeing the face of the Lord in those we encounter? Do we see him especially in our 'enemies'?
And most importantly: how do we respond to Jesus as he passes through our lives today?
Let's pray that the Lord gives us a big heart open to him, especially to his presence in those we encounter everyday.