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GOD SETS BEFORE US "A TABLE OF ABUNDANCE"

by Joanna Manning

Meditating on the readings for Advent and Christmas this year, I am struck by the gentleness of God. Perhaps because there is so much enmity and strife in the political, economic and ecclesial worlds, I am drawn to the antidote that the Divine Word of compassion incarnate provides. Perhaps because ugly voices of self-righteousness and violence purporting to speak on behalf of religion have been heard in so many quarters lately, I am more drawn than ever to the irenic and inclusive Good News announced in the Advent readings and the Christmas story.

     The coming of God announced by the readings from prophets Isaiah and Zechariah –and the Gospel passages that form the focus of the mystery unfolding in Advent– is characterized by comfort and tenderness. God is like a great eagle who carries her young on her back. God is busy preparing a rich feast full of good food and well-aged wines. God rescues, comforts, encourages faint hearts and binds up wounds. God runs off into the
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