for Sunday, December 8, 2013
Repent! This is such a strong word for all people. Yet it only means to
change course. It is admission that our lives are off course and we must
correct our course. Sometimes that repentance is a total change of course
and sometimes it is just a slight correction of our course.
What is our course? Always and at every moment: what God wants of us. So
to repent for us is to seek God's will and to attempt to do God's will.
Advent invites us always to deepen our awareness of the ways in which God
comes into our lives and to seek to live according to God's will. The best
example of such following of Jesus is the example of Mary, His mother.
The Prophet Isaiah recognized many centuries ago that we are unable to
change our course by ourselves. We need to have God. We need to have a
Savior. With his gift of prophecy, given by God, he foresaw the Peaceable
Kingdom, recognizing the child who would come and be the Savior. In Advent
we are invited to look with the Prophet Isaiah at our world and to
recognize that even though the Savior has come, we are personally still in
need of that Savior. We can also recognize that the world as a whole has
not accepted the Savior.
Yet so many people yearn for the Peaceable Kingdom, where all is peace and
all is harmony and where there is no fear but only love and care for one
The Letter to the Romans, in the second reading today, puts it this way:
Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.
How different our world would be if each one of us welcomed everyone else
as Christ has welcomed us! It is really difficult to believe that God
wants us to do this. Yet it is the heart of the Gospel and the heart of
following Jesus as Lord.
So we return to repentance in the Gospel of Matthew today and realize that
we are being called by God to this repentance. We are being asked
personally by God to change our course into the course of God. We will be
given all power and strength to do this if only we set out to do it. Jesus
Himself assures us in His life, death and resurrection that we will have
life if we follow Him daily.
Let us start now, on this Sunday of Advent, to seek His will, to do His
will and always to rejoice in the love that has been given to us. May John
the Baptist be our model: in all things he pointed to Jesus Christ.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 11.1-10
Second Reading: Romans 15.4-9
Gospel: Matthew 3.1-12
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: