December 4, 2022, Second Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 11:1-10 Romans 15:4-9 Matthew 3:1-12
Today’s readings are chock full of important messages from the Lord for all of us. They all merit a bit of extra “reflection time” - especially during this season of Advent. The gospel, relating the story of John the Baptist preaching in the desert, is often featured in homilies of the day…and rightly so. However, today I will focus on the first reading, from the prophet Isaiah.
It is particularly noteworthy that Isaiah actually mentions the spirit of the Lord four times in this passage. Elaine Park, co-author of Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word (2020 edition), writes: “The Spirit is God’s own life-giving breath that will be the source of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear of the Lord.” This is a significant foreshadowing of the priority that Jesus will give to the Holy Spirit when he refers to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost!
Isaiah also highlights the principle of justice in this passage: “Not by appearance shall he (the Lord) judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.” This passage is often cited in connection with the Catholic Church’s emphasis on practicing a “Preferential Option for the Poor”. This teaching, simply stated in the Catholic Code of Canon Law, proclaims: “The Christian faithful are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor.”
All of this really has me thinking, and here’s what I have concluded:
1). I know I am frequently quick to pass judgement on others, without knowing their whole story. For me, the words of Pope Francis keep ringing in my ears - “Who am I to judge”!
2). I don’t always take time to reflect upon my actions or my inaction - in terms of how those decisions affect the poor.
Advent is a perfect time to reflect - and perhaps to make a commitment to transform myself into a more just and more caring person. God’s abundant love and grace can help me with that.
Lord, may I accept your invitation to transform my heart and my life, in order to become more like you! Amen.
by: Bill Miller