December 8, 2019
(2nd Sunday Advent, A)
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. . . .
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. Is_11:1-10
St. Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters: Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Rom_15:4-9
John the Baptist said, “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Mt_3:1-12
Little boy was walking down the street on a bright and sunny, winter morning; when suddenly, a mighty snowball hit him smack on the back of his head. Before he could turn around, his assailant was long gone. And yet, the shock, the surprise, the injustice of it all, changed that little boy’s entire life.
Next day, Little Boy was walking down that same street. But this time, he had his hat on. And this time, he walked on the other side of the road. And this time, he watched. For this time, when that assailant jumped out to pummel a little girl with another mighty snowball, the little boy rushed out to intercept it. And, as that assailant bolted away, the little girl, who continued on her journey, was oblivious to her salvation.
This happened day after day, as other, unsuspecting boys and girls, and even adults, were saved by the little boy. In time, the little boy grew stealthier, and the assailant more cunning.
And all the while, off to the side, a keenly observant shopkeeper, was silently witnessing the unfolding of a miracle. Yet inside, he still worried, that one day, that little boy might truly get himself hurt, as: the snowballs turned into mud-balls, and the mud-balls into rocks, and the rocks into arrows, into bullets, into bombs, into insidious abuses of the media and the internet.
And then one day it happened. The little boy was killed. But not before becoming very close friends with the shop-keeper, and sharing his reason for being there.
You see, his very life was a Gift to all humanity. And that Gift would be proclaimed to a world, oblivious to its constant salvation. And the shop-keeper would spread the news of the Little Boy’s mission of love, and peace, and justice. And by signs, and symbols, and stories, and wonders WE would slowly begin to recognize His Gifts, and to share those Gifts, and to become like Him . . . changing the world, one soul at a time.
So the next time it snows, beloved, we might, just remember, that behind those fine flakes of beauty and safety and security, there’s a Little Boy obliterating snowballs, so that WE might be Saved!
Segue – (Now for just a moment let’s switch seasons) . . .
On a cozy couch, in the shade of a sunny veranda, with an impeccable view of the blue Mediterranean, sipping on a piña colada, listening to our favorite tunes, with the fragrant smell of the sea, and the pines, and the flowers, in the soft summer breeze, the only thing better might be swimming in a vat of chocolate –
OR . . . Finding a favorite Verse in today’s set of Scriptures . . . because, they are CHOCK full of favorites!
Justice, and Peace, and Encouragement,
– Gifts of the Holy Spirit,
– Mercy, and Love and Truth,
– Baptism, Glory and Harmony,
– Wild Honey and Heaven,
– Stumps and Sprouts,
– and of course, Repentance;
It’s all there in our readings on this: Second Sunday of Advent.
St. Paul tells us that the whole point of the Scriptures is to Encourage us with Hope and to Teach us Endurance.
And the Prophet Isaiah speaks of God’s Faithfulness to His promises and His uncompromising Love for us. For just as God promised King David, the son of Jesse, an Eternal descendancy of Kingship, even though those descendants fell into ruin like the “Stump” of a dead tree, God would raise a bud of Hope from those barren roots: a Little Boy in a manger and an empty tomb with a Gift!
Not a box under a tree,
but a blessing,
right there, IN you and me.
A blessing of peace and harmony.
The conversion of assailants and victims, without fuss.
Our unprecedented Love of those who disagree with us.
Petting the lion without fear, and
taking the paw of the mighty bear.
You see, we have this tendency of building fortresses of protection around us, all the while, dying of loneliness. And in the meantime, God is telling us to Trust in Him. He has given us the Gift of Eternal Life – in communion with Him and with one another. All we need do, is open the doors of our hearts to receive it, with a little belief and repentance.
This Season of Advent is all about: breaking down fortress walls, opening doors, and recognizing that Gift. The Gift that our “Little Boy,” Jesus, has so freely given to us, on these, His altars of Sacrifice (Cross) and Love (Eucharist).
By our baptisms, we have been saved from that mighty “Snowball” of deceit.
Now, with the help of the Holy Spirit,
it’s OUR turn to save others!
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