Second Sunday of Advent

Is 11:1-10; Rom 15: 4-9; Mt 3:1-12 (year a)

The outcomes of recent polls, both for the EU referendum and the American presidential election, have been interpreted as a sign of widespread disillusionment and a longing for change. Such disenchantment reaches beyond the state of current politics and reflects the inevitable malaise of sinful humanity. A broken world longs for healing and a better tomorrow.

The season of Advent brings hope to this fundamental longing. Long ago the prophet Isaiah had spoken of a new beginning, a root that would spring from the stock of Jesse. His words were addressed to a people who had lost faith both in themselves and in the structures governing their society.

To their flagging faith he promised a new David who would rule with wisdom and insight, equity and justice. The insecurity of random violence would be banished in a kingdom where the wolf would dwell with the lamb, the lion cub with the calf.

We believe that Christ was born as the fulfilment of these promises. In him, we have a sure beginning for our hope. We know what has been promised, but must live with the tension between what was begun in Christ and is yet to find fulfilment in our own lives.

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