Good News Reflection
FOR SUNDAY: December 2, 2007
First Sunday of Advent
Hope is the theme of the First Sunday of Advent. In the readings for Mass this Sunday, Isaiah describes a future in which all is well because (1) God is recognized as the highest authority and (2) following his ways is the people's highest priority.
This vision gave great hope to the oppressed Israelites. As a picture of heaven, it also gives great hope to us. Even if "terms" (of purgatory) must be "imposed" upon us because we've not stayed entirely on the paths of God, we will be living in the light of the Lord after death, and there will be no more wars to battle.
Knowing that this is our future, we can look at today's trials as preparations for heaven. The weapons that we use now to defeat and overcome the powers of darkness can be used as plowshares for enriching our soil (our earthly life), bringing us into new growth and producing a harvest in ministry. Sufferings that are turned into ministries to help others make the hardships very worthwhile.
Although Isaiah was speaking of the coming of the world's Messiah through the Jews, these verses remind us that when we respect God's authority and make imitating Christ our highest priority, all is well for us. Our battles against evil aren't over yet, but Jesus has already won the victory for us. Our hope is not based on a wish for peace; our hope comes from the reality of what Jesus has already done and what he will do. So, "let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!" (Psalm 122).
The Gospel reading tells us that our hope is realized only if we stay awake and alert to the activities of Christ. What are you despairing about? Despair and worry are merely an attempt by the devil to make you forget that Christ has already won the battle for you. If we stay alert to the presence of Christ, recognizing his authority and following his ways, we live in hope — not wishful thinking, but a hope that's based firmly on reality.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
© 2007 by Terry A. Modica