Keeping a Routine When Life Feels Anything But

December 1, 2020   Tuesday of the First Week of Advent (Lectionary: 176)

Reading 1   IS 11:1-10

On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm   PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

R. (see 7)  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment. 
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
He shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save. 
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   LK 10:21-24

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike. 
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. 
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. 
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

By Owen Williams

Throughout most of my life, routine has been a constant.  Waking up early, praying, reading, checking my email, going to work, eating dinner, and so on.  For a slightly obsessive person like myself, routine is nearly essential.  Recently, though, there have been moments in which I have caught myself--in the midst of my daily routine--losing the childlike wonder that today’s Gospel calls me to, moments in which I have not had eyes that see and ears that hear,

moments in which I have allowed my heart and soul to become distracted from the reality that I am the beloved of God.

It is certainly easy--in the craziness of my day-to-day pandemic existence--to get caught up in everything, to be so intensely focused on the next task that I fail to recognize moments of beauty, moments of goodness, and moments of love, even if they slam into me like a truck. 

There is much to be distracted by in our busy society.  I have allowed my soul to focus too intently on the struggles--both personal and societal--of 2020, but, as I write this, I am praying for the grace to see and hear God’s incarnate presence in everything.  To see, as Richard Rohr writes, that “everything belongs,” even (or perhaps especially) the moments of suffering.  

For me, routine is an essential piece of my life; it keeps me focused and centered, but paradoxically, it can sometimes do the opposite. 

This Advent, in the wake of the seemingly endless distractions of late, I am re-centering my soul on accepting the Lord’s invitation made quite clear in our Gospel today: to love, to see, to hear, to feel, to be in relationship, and to be childlike. In my life, this looks like spending additional moments at the beginning and end of each day in meditation on the ways in which God is continually revealing Godself in my life. 

God is present in all things.  As I prepare for the celebration of the incarnation of our Lord, I pray for the grace to recognize God, especially in the seemingly ordinary moments of my daily routine, to recognize myself as God’s beloved, and to share that truth with everyone I encounter.


Owen Williams is a beloved son of the Father, friend of Jesus and Theology teacher serving and tending to the hearts and souls of the men of St. Edward High School in Cleveland, Ohio. You can follow him on twitter here

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