Today, on this second Sunday of Advent, we hear of God’s faithfulness to his people and our hope-filled response.
In the Old Testament reading (Isaiah 11:1-10), we hear the prophet’s vision of the coming of the long-awaited messiah and the establishment of his messianic kingdom – a universal paradise of peace, justice and fellowship promised by God. This vision is a foreshadowing of the new order that was initiated by Jesus’ coming into the world and the redeeming work he accomplished on the cross – a new order that will achieve its utmost fulfillment at the end of time.
The psalmist (Psalm 72) echoes Isaiah pointing out how the wise, compassionate, and faithful King – Jesus – calls all people to himself and how fortunate we are when we accept the King’s invitation in humility and trust.
In the gospel (Matthew 3:1-12), we hear John the Baptist announce the fulfillment of God’s promise as he proclaims the arrival of Jesus, and the new world order. John tells us what we must do to embrace this new age. We must shed those things in our lives that go against God’s goodness and turn ourselves back to God. We must dispose ourselves to God’s grace so that we might be transformed – so that we can become new people restored and reconciled to God.
And then, with God dwelling in us, we go out to produce the “good fruit” that John speaks of. We bear good fruit by way of our attitudes towards each other and our service for each other. We bear good fruit when compassion, forgiveness, and love fill our hearts and inform our actions. We bear good fruit when we, like Isaiah, help others envision God’s love and faithfulness. We bear good fruit when we, like John, humble ourselves before God and point the way to Jesus. We bear good fruit when we model our lives on the life of Christ and reflect God’s goodness onto our world. And with God working in us, and with the hope that can only be found in God’s promise, we help Jesus bring forth his kingdom– that new world order of love, justice, and peace promised by our faithful God.