Dec 1, 2010

Isaiah and a good glass of wine!

I must confess, with no apology, that I enjoy a good glass of wine. One of the things I have learned from my parishioners, is the richness of wine tasting. We are located in an area of Oregon surrounded by a number of vineyards, so what’s not to like? Apparently, Isaiah felt the same way as we hear in today’s first reading:

Isaiah 25: 6-10a

On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken.
On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.
On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

This beautiful image of a banquet with all the food and drink you can enjoy is an allusion to the wedding feast of heaven and a foreshadow of our Eucharistic banquet we share in so often. I remember the first Mass of a classmate who insisted on using an expensive vintage of wine for that celebration. Some of us thought he was being a bit pompous but he certainly had a point. Why don’t we think God deserves the best? Why do we sometimes assume he is no better than our average or our leftovers?

Consider the amount of wine Jesus produced at the wedding of Cana – 180 gallons! (Jn 2: 6-7). Apparently, Jesus felt the same as Isaiah did about this ancient beverage. Yes, it is delicious but this isn’t about a drunken brawl. The feast that God has prepared is a re-creation; a moment of intervention when God came in the flesh (Jn 1: 14) and in Christ Jesus, re-created the world. He takes away, the “veil that veils all peoples” and has saved us.

So, the next time you share in the Eucharist at Mass and drink from the cup, imagine the very life of Christ soaking through every pore of your body to your soul. If you enjoy a nice glass of wine, raise it in thanksgiving for the new life we long for at Christmas and that same life we now enjoy. This Advent is a season of hope. I think the greatest hope we have is that none of us will be blind. Isaiah says, “Behold our God to whom we looked to save us!” Can you see him?