“The Exhortation to the Apostles” (detail) by James Tissot

“Then turning to the disciples he said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.’” (Luke 10:23-24)

The people of Israel prior to the Incarnation were under the weight of a great spiritual darkness. In the passage from Isaiah 63 proclaimed on the First Sunday of Advent, we can hear the anguish of a people whose lives were burdened and frustrated to the point of despair—a people who by their own sin had lost all the blessing the Lord had given them under the Davidic line.

The people, both before and after the periods of exile, had looked forward to the day when the great prophet, like unto Moses, would make his appearance in Israel. The prophets proclaimed the day when the Messiah would appear.

Jesus tells his apostles, that they are blessed because they saw what those of old longed to see; that they heard, what the kings and prophets longed to hear. He spoke to them in private, but also, through scripture, to us in our day.

Familiarity often results in complacency. Do we truly understand how the Lord has blessed us? Redeemed, forgiven, adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High God.

We have seen and we have heard. Now we must act! Follow Him!

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