4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
How were the prophets able to predict the coming of Jesus, the Messiah?
For the most part, the first reading for the Sundays of Advent is taken from Old Testament prophetic literature. These passages, along with most other prophetic literature, weren’t intended by the prophets themselves as predictors of Jesus’ birth, life, and mission; a more accurate way to understand prophetic literature is to see it as addressing social, political, and religious issues of the day. God, speaking through the prophets, calls his people to more faithful covenant living.
However, the Church teaches that, within the Old Testament, “the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way” (Dei verbum, 15). The Passion and Resurrection of the Lord led to the reinterpretation of prophetic texts by his followers who understood these texts in a new light; the original texts, written at a specific time to address specific issues, were later understood to contain other meanings. The process continues to our own day as we strive to apply the Scriptures to our twenty-first-century faith reality. This is what makes the Bible a living text through which God continues to speak. Let us listen with open minds and hearts.