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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Dec. 8, 2013

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

December 8, Second Sunday of Advent

Cycle A. Readings:

1) Isaiah 11:1-10

Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

2) Romans 15:4-9

Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12

I grew up in Michigan. In elementary school, I had a number of friends. We played whiffle ball in a vacant lot, built forts in the woods, spent the night in a pop-up trailer and did regular childhood guy kinds of things. Everything was great. Then came junior high school.

I have no idea what happened, but when school began, some of my friends from the previous school year left me in their collective dust. It was befuddling and a bit heartbreaking. As far as I knew, I was the same person. Maybe they were the ones who changed. Maybe I should have changed to be friends with them. Whatever the reason, they became the cool kids and I was left to be in a "lower class" in the schoolyard.

Halfway through my 10th-grade year, my family moved to Texas. I was uprooted from all I had known and planted in a totally new environment.

The first day of school was nerve-racking. Yet, I distinctly remember the moment a new door was opened and my life changed. It was my first class: history. The girl in front of me, a cheerleader, turned around and said, "Hi." I was flabbergasted! I could not believe someone of her "social class" at school gave me the time of day.

It was then that I realized that this move to Texas was an opportunity to start over. These people had not left me behind in junior high. They had no idea who I was. It was like being born again.

This week's readings tell of similar, though admittedly much weightier, new beginnings. Isaiah speaks of a "day" when lions will lie with lambs and babies will play with cobras. The Gospel tells of the great moment when John the Baptist calls for repentance and announces the One who will usher in the change foretold by Isaiah and take this prophesy a step further to send the Holy Spirit and fire.

One of the paradoxes of our faith is that God never changes, but when we follow God, we never stay the same. As Christmas approaches, let us beseech the unchanging God of change and brace ourselves for the new things that await us, most of which will not be under the tree.


Was there ever a time when you had a new beginning in your life? What are you doing to prepare the way of the Lord in your life this Advent?


"He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." -- Matthew 3:11


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