comforting

Dec 6, 2022

.

It was the Jesuit priests who taught me in seminary who gave me an appreciation of and love for Classical music. Growing up in small-city 1970’s Aotearoa we didn’t think much about music that might be considered serious and high-brow. We were more captivated by what was catchy and popular.

One of the SJ‘s introduced me to George Frideric Handel’s great work, the Messiah oratorio.

This master-work of well over two hours was composed by Handel in an inspired working frenzy of less than a month two hundred and eighty years ago..

From its first performance in Dublin in 1742 it was overwhelmingly popular and continues to performed across the world especially in these Advent weeks.

It’s on my mind because of today’s first reading which opens Handel’s work with the tenor aria:

Comfort ye
Comfort ye my people
Comfort ye
Comfort ye my people
Saith your God
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem
And cry unto her
That her warfare
Her warfare is accomplished
That her iniquity is pardoned
The voice of Him
That crieth in the wilderness
Prepare ye the way of the Lord
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God

What a great opening word for a work of art focussing on the life, death and resurrection of our Messiah: comfort.

Comfort.

Comfort.

The entire Messiah work, anticipating Jesus (Old Testament prophecies), the birth and ministry of Jesus, and the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, reminds us of the extraordinary measures God has taken to ensure (in the words of today’s gospel) that not one of us ever feel lost.

And it begins with the heart-felt desire of God, to bring us Comfort.

Let’s ask Him for the comfort now, and every moment when we think of this throughout the day.

 

5 Comments

  1. Music for the Soul! Such a favourite aria ,wonderful contemplation . Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Fr John
    I used to see and hear this work performed before Christmas when at school in Nottingham UK and have heard it performed in Wellington Town Hall and here at the Christchurch Town Hall in recent years. A truly inspiring oratorio, which I would recommend to anyone even if they are not particularly into classical music.

    Fred

    Reply
  3. Thanks Fr John, the comfort of God is a heavenly thought and will especially helpful as I take on the challenge of Auckland’s northern motorway – it’s late afternoon and possibly about to start raining!

    Reply
  4. Just what the doctor ordered! Four inoculations yesterday – allowing myself comfort is the perfect antidote. Thanks Fr John.

    Reply
  5. F. John, I have been enjoying your advent reflections. I offered Mass today for you as if my memory has not failed me, is a special day for you?

    Myra B.

    Reply

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