In the First Sunday of Advent reflection I spoke of being quiet, of silence, and of listening to our own heart and feelings. I spoke of noticing what is going on the inside. These are very important qualities for developing spirituality any time but especially during Advent.
This week’s readings call us to peace-making, to reconciliation with each other and with all of creation, to transforming our hearts, opening them to a greater awareness of the presence and peace of God.
In the First Reading, Isaiah calls us to be like the lamb who lies down with the wolf. We hear in that image a call to be open to our “enemies, to be present to the other.”
Paul speaks to us in the Second Reading, suggesting to the Romans that the Jews become reconciled to the Gentiles.
John the Baptist is heard in Matthew’s Gospel “Prepare the way of the Lord and if there is no sign of transformation, the axe is to be laid bare to the root.”
While these are images in Sunday’s liturgical readings, they speak to us about peace with God, peace with one another and peace and transformation within ourselves as both condition and result a peace between us and our environment. An honest look across our country exemplifies anything but peace. Unlike the lamb and the lion lying down together, the Senate and House wrangle and seemingly refuse to cooperate. The problem of job scarcity, high taxes, low salaries, national debt, effective and honest politicians, North Korea’s threat and violence in our cities make us wonder if the Spirit of understanding, counsel and knowledge has bypassed this century, this era, this planet.
But in faith, this Advent we wait, like the wilderness of Judea for the Spirit of the Lord to rest upon us so that the depth of life of innate goodness and integrity, of wisdom and sound judgment will blossom. How this will happen and when this will occur remains a profound mystery. (Rom 11:25).
Each of us must begin today to make an effort to transform him or herself through forgiveness of another, letting go of a grudge, speaking gently to an enemy, praying for the government, writing to our Congress people, saving water, reducing carbon foot prints. Through personal transformation, the Good God (Bon Dieu) calls us together to accept one another in harmony, to live in peace with the universe and to be reconciled in our own hearts making the way for a new earth and a new heaven. This, my dear Friends, is to what the 2nd Sunday of Advent calls us.