Sunday December 4
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near
  • Isaiah 11:1-10
  • Psalm 72: 1-2,7-8,12-13,17
  • Romans 15:4-9
  • Matthew 3:1-12

In the second Sunday of Advent, in what we read as a Messianic prophecy, the Hebrew scripture offers an early vision of “living well.” The prophet Isaiah foresees an “utopia” where a righteous ruler brings perfect justice with perfect peace. In a gentle menagerie of wolf with lamb and leopard with kid, there is a kind of wonderland of imagination. The playful coexistence of wild animal and infant child indicate humanity and creation living in sacred balance with one another.

We fear being branded as foolish, unreasonable or unrealistic if we set our sights on what we know in our hearts to be completeness of life for all. But in this time of Advent, we are prompted that it is God’s dreams that we are to set in front of us like a kind of horizon. And God’s dreams — righteousness, justice, peace, harmony — are bold. We must take sensible, careful, and sometimes what feel like terribly incremental steps forward in a particular path of justice or peace.

The second reading from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans, speaks about hope. Hope is an amazing thing. If we can cling to hope amid trials, a difficult situation can become endurable because hope will empower us to get through it. As believers hope is a crucial part of life. We must cling to certain things so that we can come out on the other side of troubles unharmed by the world around us.

The Gospel of God’s kingdom is the same through the ages. The lesson in fact predates the Lord Jesus and goes back through the prophets to Moses and right to the beginning of humanity. The message is simple – we must repent. To repent means plainly to change our mind. We must see our sin for the outrage that it is. We might have once thought that we were OK with God, but now we must understand that he is not impressed with anything that we say or do. A new heart is needed, and that comes as a gift from God.

The second step is to turn to God. We no longer run our own lives as if we are our own king or queen. We acknowledge that God alone is our King. He is the one who created us and gave us life. Therefore, we are to be under His supremacy. Let us change our attitudes, and allow the Lord to be in control.

To become a follower of the Lord Jesus entails a total change in our life direction and our lifestyle. It means giving up on the things which displease God and living His way instead. When we do this, we stop being God’s foes and we become His friends.

Prayer: Abba Father, what an awesome privilege it is to be called your friend. Help me to live for you in every part of my life. Amen.

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