Readings: Isa.11. 1-10; Romans15: 4-9; Matthew 3:1-12
Congratulations we are on the Second Sunday of Advent. I know that in the hubbub of Christmas preparation our minds can sometimes be distracted, even at Sunday liturgy. So, for this reason, it would be good to focus on a few phrases from today’s readings that are beautiful and worthy of reflection.
From the prophet Isaiah we hear that “Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but He shall judge the poor with justice and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.”
And later in the same reading: “The cow and the bear shall the neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall ply in the cobra’s den.”
Isaiah is not only reminding how God views us (not by appearance) but gives us a promise of a distant future when violence/sin/injustice comes to an end through God’s love. Who does not see this as Good News?
From Paul, in his letter to the Romans, we are told that “Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of Scriptures we might have hope.”
Who does not want hope and how seldom do we look for it in the Bible. Perhaps during this Advent, we can take a short period of time daily to read from the Gospels for as Pope Paul VI said: “Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ.”
From the Gospel of Matthew we hear that John the Baptist (not a cheery figure, for sure) tells us to “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
During this time of Advent, we have hope not only in Scripture and God’s promise of the ultimate victory of Good (as shown in Isaiah) but a reminder that we cannot rest and wait. We are called not to sit idly by and wait for Christ but to repent, turning from sin and preparing ourselves to more fully engage in the Kingdom of love, justice and peace NOW. We do this by asking for forgiveness, changing, and spreading love, peace, and justice to others.
So, during this week perhaps we can read some passages from the Gospels each day and ask how we can become closer to Christ and what concretely we can do for those around us who may be poor, lonely or in distress.
Mission Doctors give hope to so many poor through their witness and work, please support them during this Adventide through pray and donations.
Brother John Kielser, OFM