Second Week of Advent
by Sr. Regina Siegfried, ASC
Although some may think that politics can usher in the new heavens and the new earth, today’s Scripture readings indicate a deeper interpretation of change. The second reading from 2 Peter sets an apocalyptic scene of the end of time, complete with flames, fire, and dire predictions. (Today, many would shy away from a fundamentalist, literal interpretation and opt for an ever-expanding universe theory). The first reading from the prophet Isaiah, on the other hand, lyrically sings of comfort, good news, and a smooth passageway to God’s new heavens and earth. We may want to wrap ourselves in the warmth of the images from Isaiah during the chilly days of near winter, but the opening of Mark’s Gospel ushers in that crusty, locust-eating, poorly dressed John the Baptist with hand upraised pointing to realms unknown and unexpected.
Both the first reading and the Gospel urge us to prepare the way of the Lord. The new heavens and new earth are the smooth paths of the Lord who comes with justice. Advent’s message is one of justice that brings fairness and comfort to those in need. The new creation is the household of God that we as members of the Body of Christ have the privilege, responsibility, and honor to make real in our time, place, city, parish, and neighborhood. Advent is a time of beginning yet again on the spiral of grace and mercy that daily leads us to the reign of God that is indeed here today because of Jesus and because we believe in the power of the Spirit to help us create a world of justice here and now. We are the ones who can fill in the valleys and make the mountains and hills low for those whose journey is difficult. God’s grace and love can level out the inner journey for us even as we assist others on the way.
While we wait in hope we also weave a new world of justice, love, equality and fairness to all God’s creatures and cosmos. Waiting is active, service-oriented, and generous in its stillness.
- For whom and what do I wait? What do I expect in my waiting?
- Because God doesn’t disappoint, what can I rely on?