Second Sunday of Advent

Call to worship

Today’s scriptures call us to repentance and a change of heart. We can burn with the fire of God’s Spirit and prepare the way for the Lord when we let go of our judgments and embrace kindness, gentleness and truth.

  • To the point: John the Baptist prepared “the way of the Lord” by calling the people to repentance so they would not be “thrown into the fire” of “the coming wrath.” John announced impending judgment and offered a baptism of repentance. John also announced One to come who would enact that judgment and bring a baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire. The fire of judgment destroys those who are fruitless; the fire of the Spirit helps the faithful bear good fruit. Advent is all about jumping into the fire.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Matthew 3:1-12) to the first reading: During Advent the readings from Isaiah are prophecies of the Messiah. Thus, the “sprout from the stump of Jesse” is the Christ. The “spirit of the Lord” that rested upon Jesus bringing him wisdom and understanding, counsel and strength, knowledge and fear of the Lord is the same Spirit we are given at baptism bringing us the same gifts enabling us to be faithful and fruitful.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: The misuse of fire, arson, is considered a very heinous crime because it destroys more than property; it is an invasion of personal space. In this gospel John refers to fire as a destructive force but also as a gift that brings personal worth — new life.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Matthew 3: 1-12)

(The Baptist) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John cried out in the desert, prepare! Prepare! Reshape your life!
Change your mind, change your heart!
The one is coming who is the very Spirit of God!
Christ, we want to have all these. Talk to our hearts.
Set us on fire with flames that are your Spirit.

The First Reading

(Isaiah 11: 1-10)

A shoot shall sprout from the root of Jesse. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.

Jesus, we wait for you. Pour your Spirit into our lives,
like water rushing down to the sea.
Fill us with your gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel,
strength, knowledge, wonder and awe.
Reshape us with your love, your own love.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.

The Second Reading

(Romans 15: 4-9)

Welcome one another then, as Christ welcomed you.

Father, as Christ embraces all,
give us the grace to welcome one another.
Let our prayers sing harmony to each other
and together call praise to you,
each doing its part to bring peace to this Earth.

Copyright © 2022, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection