In this passage from Isaiah 11:1-10, which is the First Reading at today’s Mass for this Second Sunday in Advent, the prophet uses many wonderful words and colorful descriptions only to say that, ‘Not only when the Messiah of YHWH comes will nothing ever be the same again, but things will actually be the complete opposite of how they are now.’
- “On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
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. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.”
That we are called to be new creations In Christ (Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17) is a point that I believe most Christians get, and one that I do not need to spend a whole lot of time writing about here. Where I believe that the difficulty does come in at is not in the acceptance of the call to be a new creation, or in cooperating with the Grace of God to become one, but, rather, it comes in our failing. It is absolutely true that it is very hard to believe that we are becoming a new thing In Christ when we find ourselves still doing the same old things that we use to do, and feel powerless to stop doing them. Sometimes perpetual sin feel like a chronic condition. It is hard sometimes to reconcile who we are becoming In Christ, when the who we were outside of Christ keeps showing us their ugly face.
I believe that the solution to this real difficulty is found in Advent Season. During this season we turn all of our thoughts and attention to the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to save sinners from destruction. The reason that God became man was because sinners needed a permanent solution (healing/balm) to their chronic condition that only God could provide. God came for sinners, God comes for sinners, and God will come again for sinners.
Inasmuch as the liturgical calendar season of Advent comes around every year for four weeks to remind us of and to point us to the solution for our chronic condition, the reality is that Advent is an everyday event. Jesus Christ in His Divine Mercy comes to us throughout every moment of the day to heal sinners and draw us into His Holy nature. And it is this reality that we all need to take advantage of, because we may sin; we may fall into temptation; the Devil may trick us; we may even keep doing the same stupid stuff repeatedly, but Jesus is the Good Shepherd that keeps coming after His lost sheep.
There is nothing we can do to make God love us less or more than He already does, because He is Love, and love does not quit; love does not give up; love does not surrender; true love just keep coming and coming and coming. Love is the offering basket that is always full. In this sense, Love is Advent and Advent is Love.
Now, just because God is magnanimous with His mercy, let us not assume it or take it for granted. I firmly believe that there is no sin, inasmuch as it is very pleasing to the flesh, that is worth admission into Hell for all of eternity for. No sin! But if you do fall, immediately turn to Him who comes to help sinners up and recommit yourself to cooperating with the grace of God to do better when the next temptation comes, and if you fall again then turn to Him again, and again, and again, and eventually you will find yourself desiring, very strongly, to faithfully love Him whose love never failed you.
As you reflect upon the readings at Mass today, here are some questions for you to consider:
- Is it hard for you sometimes to believe that God loves you? Do you think that is because sometimes you find it hard to love yourself?
- Recall the times that you remember God coming to you when you needed Him most. Give testimony about that story to someone this Advent.
- Pray today to the Holy Spirit to fill you with all the graces and helps you need to prepare your heart for the Lord’s Coming this Advent.
Jesus, I await your coming.
Your coming into my heart,
into my life,
into my family
into my job,
into my finances,
into my awaking, my resting, and my sleeping.
Into all of my comings and my goings.
Come Jesus, Come Jesus, Come Jesus.
All that I have is yours.
Remove from my life what grieves you, heal in my life what pains you,
and bless in my life what glorifies your Holy Name.
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.