Second Sunday of Advent Year A 2022

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While outside the church and even within it there is a search for power, including power in prayer, the one anointed with the Spirit of the Lord is full of wisdom and insight, not power, and their delight is in the Law of God. This was indeed John, who saw unrepentant Jewish leaders as out and repentant tax collectors and soldier as in, who more importantly saw the One who baptized with the Holy Spirit's fire and showed that rather than being a lion, he was the lamb of God who truly and rightly rules.

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The Strangeness of God’s Spirit


I hear and read a lot about “powerful prayer”

Some Catholics have picked up from Protestants the militant language of “storming the gates of heaven” - that is seige language, that is militant attack language
We talk about prayer being powerful when we get what we want. And we want power
Or we may use the language “effective prayer” with something of the same meaning
The “Spirit was present” means miracles we liked happened or we had meaningful spiritual experiences
That is so different from the ministries of Mother Theresa who for decades experienced nothing inwardly and whose looking at everyone as she would have looked at Jesus was the miracle. One could say something the same of Therese of Liseaux.
Our readings today show God’s Spirit flipping our language of power for language of wisdom and truth

Israel needed a Davidic king, but the prediction was not what they expected

The “sprout from the stump of Jesse has not power, but the Spirit of the Lord. And that Spirit brings wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear of the Lord, i.e. awe before God. And that is where the Davidic figure’s delight lies.
Unlike David he does not wield a sword, but the “rod of his mouth” and the “breath of his lips” - do you hear the wisdom and truth being spoken? The lion of Judah turns out to be the lamb indeed, but what a lamb. He does not rend like a lion, but instead brings peace between calf and lion, wolf and lamb, and “a little child shall lead them.” “They will not hurt of destroy on my holy mountain,” the mountain that will grow to fill the earth.

And that is indeed what happened

John the Baptist, that seemingly strange man who wears the prophetic habit and “whose delight is in the law of the Lord” as we see in his most kosher diet, comes and does not gather an army, but proclaims, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Minds will be changed. Wisdom and understanding will rule.
He speaks hard truths to Pharisees who think they already understand it all, but who do not think that they need to change their minds and thus have no evidence of repentance.
In Luke he speaks softer truths to tax collectors and soldiers, those sold out to the enemy; he does not damn them to hell, but gives them some very practical and doable “deeds of repentance.” He knows that “God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” He implies that the outcast may end up in and the Pharisaic patriots end up in hell.
And, since John is humble, he speaks of a more powerful and worthy One, who “will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.” He will spill blood, but it will be his blood. His baptism will cleanse - it will cleans where the Holy Spirit alone can cleanse with his fire.
And yet the wind of his voice will permanently separate wheat from chaff.
Sounds like this great One is filled with the Spirit to the full, with all of those 7-fold gifts.

Sisters, this is what we want to be part of

Visions and revelations and miracles are wonderful, but only if they are spontaneous gifts of God, not if they are something we seek or try to hold onto.
Political power is the broken reed of Egypt that seems effective until we lean on it and it pierces our hand
But the one who seeks the Spirit, who welcomes his quiet gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear of the Lord, who identifies with the lamb of God rather than the lion, will find themselves in the company of so many saints like those I mentioned, entranced before the throne, not caring that power is not theirs, but knowing that all power is God’s and that his kingdom is come and his will is indeed being done on earth as in heaven.


Catholic Daily Readings 12-4-2022: Second Sunday of Advent


Isaiah 11:1–10

1 But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,

and from his roots a bud shall blossom.

2 The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:

a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

A spirit of counsel and of strength,

a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,

3 and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.

Not by appearance shall he judge,

nor by hearsay shall he decide,

4 But he shall judge the poor with justice,

and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted.

He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,

and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.

5 Justice shall be the band around his waist,

and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

6 Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,

and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat;

The calf and the young lion shall browse together,

with a little child to guide them.

7 The cow and the bear shall graze,

together their young shall lie down;

the lion shall eat hay like the ox.

8 The baby shall play by the viper’s den,

and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.

9 They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain;

for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,

as water covers the sea.

10 On that day,

The root of Jesse,

set up as a signal for the peoples—

Him the nations will seek out;

his dwelling shall be glorious.

Catholic Daily Readings 12-4-2022: Second Sunday of Advent


Psalm 72:7

7 That abundance may flourish in his days,

great bounty, till the moon be no more.


Psalm 72:1–2, 7–8, 12–13, 17

1 Of Solomon.

2 O God, give your judgment to the king;

your justice to the king’s son;

That he may govern your people with justice,

your oppressed with right judgment,

7 That abundance may flourish in his days,

great bounty, till the moon be no more.

8 May he rule from sea to sea,

from the river to the ends of the earth.

12 For he rescues the poor when they cry out,

the oppressed who have no one to help.

13 He shows pity to the needy and the poor

and saves the lives of the poor.

17 May his name be forever;

as long as the sun, may his name endure.

May the tribes of the earth give blessings with his name;

may all the nations regard him as favored.

Catholic Daily Readings 12-4-2022: Second Sunday of Advent


Romans 15:4–9

4 For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, 6 that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7 Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8 For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, 9 but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

“Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles

and sing praises to your name.”

Catholic Daily Readings 12-4-2022: Second Sunday of Advent


Luke 3:4, 6

4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one crying out in the desert:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

make straight his paths.

6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”


Matthew 3:1–12


1 In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea 2 [and] saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:

“A voice of one crying out in the desert,

‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

make straight his paths.’ ”

4  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him 6 and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.

7 When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire. 12  His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”


Catholic Daily Readings 12-4-2022: Second Sunday of Advent




First Reading Isaiah 11:1–10

Response Psalm 72:7

Psalm Psalm 72:1–2, 7–8, 12–13, 17

Second Reading Romans 15:4–9

Gospel Acclamation Luke 3:4, 6

Gospel Matthew 3:1–12

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