Thoughts on the readings for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

Readings:          Isaiah 11: 1-10          Romans 15: 4-9          Matthew 3: 1-12

This weekend we celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent.  In our Gospel this weekend we encounter John the Baptist.  We are told that “John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist.  His food was locusts and wild honey.”   Based on this description of his appearance, John must have been a formidable --- if not frightening --- figure.   His message was clear:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  And we are told that people did respond to him.   “At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.”    When many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came for his baptism, however, he said to them:  “You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.”   Clearly John was not out to win friends.   Rather he saw his mission as preparing the way of Christ and in doing this; he didn’t worry about offending people or hurting their feelings.  

Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.   In the section we read this weekend, Isaiah prophesized about the coming Messiah who would come from the “stump of Jesse.”    We are told that: “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 f ear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.”   When he comes, the messiah will bring peace, justice, and concord.  Originally Isaiah’s words were meant to give hope to the Jewish people in a time of distress.  We believe though, they speak to us of the coming Kingdom of God. 

Our second reading this weekend is from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.  Paul urges people act as Christ. “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keep in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1.  What do you need to repent of during this season of Advent? 
2.  What does “fear of the Lord” mean to you?
3.  How do you glorify God in your life? 

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