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  • Writer's pictureReflections

Do you know the Potter ?

1st Sunday of Advent

And yet, Lord, you are our Father;

we the clay, you the potter,

we are all the work of your hand.

This a beautiful line from our first reading today from Isaiah. It is beautiful because it gives a very vivid image of what and who we are. As we enter the Advent season it also gives us a clear understanding of Mary, like us Mary was also the clay in the potters’ hand. Perhaps we are more delph and Mary fine china. In order for a potter to form a beautiful piece the condition of the clay is the most important part. A good potter can make something beautiful even out of poor-quality clay, but the quality is so much better when the clay is better. One of the obvious things that the clay must have is consistency. It needs to be without lumps in it. Now the potter can take out a lump or two but obviously the more lumps the longer it takes to form & too many lumps makes it impossible. This is perhaps like sin in our lives, God cannot form us into the beautiful people that he sees us as if we allow sin to destroy who we are.

The other thing about the clay is that it needs to be moist. If clay is too dry it is not possible to form anything with it. It is actually dust. It is an interesting thought when we think about receiving our ashes on an Ash Wednesday. Dust you are & onto dust you shall return. It is too late for the potter when we become dust again. It is only when the clay has moisture in it that the potter can form it. The moisture in us is our Souls filled with the Holy Spirit, this is what makes the difference between us & the animals that we share the world with. When we are baptised, we are baptised with water. This symbolises the Holy Spirit, it is no accident that it’s water when you consider that we are dust without water.

Perhaps the most beautiful thing of all about the image of the potter and the potters’ hand is that it is only the potter who knows what he is making. Even the clay does not know how it is going to be formed. The clay becomes an extension of the potters’ hand, particularly when the moisture content is right. In some ways the clay is exactly like the potter because of this life that comes from the water, that is the Holy Spirit in us. We know that no potter would ever set out to make anything not of beauty but when we know God, we know it is beyond even our most incredible imaginations as to what he has planned for us. If we focus on keeping the clay free from lumps & keeping the clay from becoming arid then we allow God to form us into the most beautiful people that he knows we can be. The word arid in the dictionary is described as lacking vitality or spirit; lifeless; as well as lacking sufficient water. In short, our main goal in life is to make sure that we don’t allow our souls to become lifeless. This is what today’s Gospel is about. When Jesus talks about staying awake because we do not know when the time will come, he is talking about having our souls ready. We must be ready every day, we certainly must attempt to be ready every day.

There are two further thoughts on the clay. The potter has the ability to lift the lumps out of the clay when it is inconsistent, this is what happens at confession when our sins are removed.

The other important point is that the potter will discard the clay if it becomes totally unworkable. The place of the discarded clay is hell.

Lord guide us this week to understand who we are and what we need to do in order for you to form us into the beautiful people you planned us to be. I am yours, do with me what you will.


Mark 13:33-37

If he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’

First reading

Isaiah 63:16-17,64:1,3-8

O that you would tear the heavens open and come down

You, Lord, yourself are our Father,

‘Our Redeemer’ is your ancient name.

Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways

and harden our hearts against fearing you?

Return, for the sake of your servants,

the tribes of your inheritance.

Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!

– at your Presence the mountains would melt.

No ear has heard,

no eye has seen

any god but you act like this

for those who trust him.

You guide those who act with integrity

and keep your ways in mind.

You were angry when we were sinners;

we had long been rebels against you.

We were all like men unclean,

all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing.

We have all withered like leaves

and our sins blew us away like the wind.

No one invoked your name

or roused himself to catch hold of you.

For you hid your face from us

and gave us up to the power of our sins.

And yet, Lord, you are our Father;

we the clay, you the potter,

we are all the work of your hand.

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