December 9,2007 2nd Sunday Advent Year A

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10
Romans 15:4-9
Matt. 3:1-12

Have you ever felt sunk in suffering? Or oppressed or bullied? Or deserted and alone? Or betrayed? Or felt everything is hopeless?
If you have felt like that, read today’s readings from Romans and Isaiah. In Romans Paul tells us that the stories of the past when told in the Scriptures give us consolation, encouragement and hope. It is a past event, but God keeps acting like that today. The Scriptures have an eternal present tense. Then move on to Isaiah. Isaiah chapters 7 to 12 are called the “Book of Emmanuel”. Emmanuel is a Hebrew word which means “God is with us”. At the time of Isaiah the people were sunk in suffering. They were oppressed by the army of Syria, they felt deserted ? no allies ? even God seemed to have forgotten them.
Everything seemed hopeless. Using poetic imagery Isaiah tells the people of that time, and us today: Trust God, He is with us (Emmanuel). He can even do the impossible. For natural enemies like the wolf and lamb, the calf and the lion to eat grass together is impossible. This is a poetic way of expressing the impossible; as poetry we do not read it literally, but look for the message behind it. The message is: God is with us. And as St Paul says: With God standing beside us, what could we possibly be afraid of. (Rom 8:31)
We Christians see the God who became human as the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy . With a very deep meaning, Jesus is the God who is with us humans, because He himself experienced the human condition of pain, rejection, betrayal and loneliness.
This Advent open your Bible and read the Passion of Christ, or Luke 15 (The father who loves his wayward child), or John 15 (Vine & branches, I call you friend), or Matt 14:22〜(Peter sinks).

Have hope! Take courage! Because no matter how you feel, God is with you.