SUNDAY SCRIPTURES | Allow God’s blessings to guide our hearts

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT | Advent gives us the chance to reclaim some of our surrendered joy and hope

You might notice that you are more apt these days to expect bad news rather than good. You might also notice that it is more difficult to raise your expectations since so much has been delayed, missed or done away with. It might even be difficult to believe that the prophesies and promises that we hear throughout the Advent season really are true.

Even though we might hear and see good news through jaundiced eye and cynical heart right now, please don’t refuse to hear or see the good news. Advent gives us the chance to reclaim some of the joy and hope that we have surrendered unnecessarily. We remember that Jesus was born on the earth as a human being. We remember that He rose from the dead and promised us a new world where there is a place for all of us. We also are given the invitation to live life right now as if we believe in and are living in those promises. What might that look like for you and your family?

There are some crooked roads that need to be made straight and valleys that need to be filled in. Taking our eyes off of the source of our hope and being distracted by fear, anxiety, disappointment, worry, delay, inconvenience and suffering often causes the crooked roads that we have been walking.

Have you noticed yourself trusting less and trying to control more? Have you noticed that you are less kind and forgiving and more judgmental and angry? Have you noticed a tendency to isolate in your own dark place rather than connecting with others, even though that is limited? Are you concentrating more on what isn’t rather than what is? Are you putting your security and feeling of well-being in something that doesn’t last? There is no need to give ourselves over to this kind of hopelessness and fear. We certainly all have these feelings, but we don’t have to let them rule our minds and hearts. Are you ready for a breath of fresh air for your hopes and dreams? If so, you are in charge of that. And God has decided to be your partner in that.

Listen to God’s words for now and the future. He is “like a shepherd, He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care” (Isaiah 40) and “we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Since we await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before Him, at peace” (2 Peter 3). Can you let these words and promises guide your mind and heart? Can you say no to anything that doesn’t sound like this, no matter the source? Can you be the bearer of this good news to those who most need to hear this? There are some very fragile and vulnerable people in our families and communities, among our friends and our enemies. Can we be like John the Baptist, being the messengers who remind people of the truth that brings joy and hope?

We are not worthy but we have been chosen. Accept the call!

Father Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

Sunday, Dec. 6
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm 85:9-14
2 Peter 3:8-14
Mark 1:1-8

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