2nd Sunday of Advent, Cycle A
December 3/4, 2022
Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12
The Church challenges us to take four weeks and reflect on the two basic Advent questions: For what kind of Messiah are you looking and how will you know him when he comes?
Two thousand years ago, the Jewish people didn’t agree on who the Messiah would be, and they didn’t recognize him when he came. They knew very well what the Scriptures said about him. They knew what the prophet Isaiah said. Our first reading today is such a beautiful description of what God sees for all of us and for all creation, and what the Messiah would accomplish. We would be in harmony with each other. There would be no hatred, no war, no prejudices, no harm or ruin.
The Jewish people knew this Scripture well, but their expectations were their own and not God’s. There had been other messiahs. All of their kings had been considered messiahs who rescued them from political oppression. But now their kings were all dead and they were a defeated nation. They had no more messiahs. They were expecting a new great messiah, but they had been so badly hurt by the world around them that they expected the Messiah to be a king like David who would rescue them from the Romans and restore the Kingdom of Israel. They thought the Messiah would free them from foreign rulers, someone who would give them back their rights. Being a conquered nation had blinded them, and this deep wound kept them from recognizing the Messiah God was sending.
We can learn from them. How are we blind? How have we been hurt? Our expectations are colored by our past, and if we are hurting, it can blind us to God’s presence.
Often we hear that the past is the past, and it can never be altered, so just accept it. No point in crying over spilt milk. Pick yourself up and move on. There is truth in that of course. What happened, happened. You shouldn’t deny it. Whereas it is true we can’t change past events, we can change the past in an important way. We can stop seeing the bad stuff of life from our own perspective and start seeing it from the perspective of God. Our own interpretation on the past and our expectations for the future are often very different from how God sees it! We can change our past by seeing it from God’s perspective.
We can look back with faith and see how God was present in every moment of our lives, even in the bad times. With faith, we can see how much God has loved us. Faith is light that illuminates the presence of God in the darkest moments of our lives. Faith is a light that heals. Faith is a light that lets us see the Messiah when he comes.
I pray we throw away our misperceptions and distorted ways we see the past, and see it as God sees it. This is one way of preparing for the Messiah. Change our perspective! This can happen through prayer, and the sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist.
Isaiah saw as God sees, i.e., a world healed of all divisions, where natural enemies are at peace, where justice and truth prevail. We can expect this if we are healed of our wounds and see through God’s eyes.
Jesus is our Messiah, and he comes to heal the sick, rescue the lost, strengthen the weak, render justice to the oppressed, give sight to the blind and open the ears of the deaf. In other words, he comes to heal you and me!
Where are you blind? Where are you weak? Where are you deaf? Where are you unjust with others? Pray about that. Ask God to make known where you need healing. Then, after he tells you give it back to him. Receive the Sacrament of Penance, tell God about it, and be healed.
You see, God wants to heal you. He wants to remove all the obstacles that stand in the way of you being in a good relationship with him. One of the most common obstacles in our way is the lie that God will love me only if I am fixed and made perfect. No! God loves you now! God doesn’t want to “fix” you, BUT he wants to heal you and come into your life. He wants you to know him, see him, and accept him. He will take away every obstacle that keeps you from accepting him.
Open wide your hearts to Christ! Be healed this Advent! Confess your sins and open your eyes. He is coming very soon. Don’t wait! Don’t fall asleep! God wants to heal you now! The Church and our parish are giving you many opportunities to do so!
Maranatha! Come, O Jesus, come.