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Second Sunday of Advent – Cycle A

4 December 2010

Reflecting on Isaiah 11:1-10

Ah, the peaceable kingdom.  How we long for the day when the wolf shall be guest of the lamb, and the calf and the young lion browse together.  But how on earth (and in heaven) do we build it?

Peaceable Kingdom, painting Edward Hicks

I recently came across a letter from my childhood friend Gloria, written on the occasion of my mother’s death.  I’ve saved it all these years because I need to take in the comfort that her words still give me:  Kathy, you loved your mom so well. Don’t make yourself sick in the years to come agonizing that you didn’t do enough. I stand as a witness to your life, and I’m telling you that you loved her well.

And then the peace comes.  And flowing from that peace comes the grace to send similar letters to people I know who may need an extra infusion of love today.  Is there anybody in my life I can let off the hook?  Is there anyone to whom I can say, “That little thing?  Are you kidding?? Don’t even worry about it!  I totally forgot about it a million years ago.”

Is there a friend or relative whose entire DNA is completely foreign to you, whose behavior is consistently grating, whose past offenses haven’t been nearly as itemized and publicized as they should be?  Tap into the grace that is always there―the kingdom of God is within you―and see them as God does, who has been the constant witness to their life and wants to heal them today, through you.

There is no peace until we are each at peace, and it begins now.  Find someone to be extra gracious to today.  And then stand back and watch the kingdom break forth.

Sharing God’s Word at Home:

Have you ever seen someone differently when you look through God’s eyes?

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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Advent - Cycle A

7 Comments to “Second Sunday of Advent – Cycle A”

  1. I try to stop and think of certain persons differently, drop the irritation or resentment, the lack of forgiveness…and make the effort to understand, to be kinder, to confess my selfishnes. But to see a person through God’s eyes… that seems to only come in a moment sometimes, from grace. It seems like a huge gift. The Holy Spirit visits in graced moments. I’ll see and feel so differently about a person than usual, that I’m sure it’s the Spirit, helping me with my selfishness.
    But Kathy’s message lets me know that maybe I can do more than I think I am able to do for the people around me, on every ordinary day. Instead of thinking it is me who needs to do the work to be kinder and less selfish, until the Holy Spirit visits me in flashes, I realize that God constantly wants to heal and love the people through me. God is continually present to us; opening our hearts is easier than we, as humans, make it. And it’s fun to think how abundantly I can bless those people whom I am in the habit of subtly rejecting because of remembering and focusing on how they have hurt me. I need to stop thinking of seeing people with love as an extraordinary thing, but as an ordinary thing.
    God, help this to be a real Advent for me, for those whom You want me to love, and for all of us. I want to prepare the way for You!

  2. A long time ago I was part of a parish where the pastor had some qualities that I found hard to take. It felt like we were always at loggerheads and I would allow the nonsense of our encounters to make me feel angry, “less than,” irritated, argumentative. Everything seemed to lead in this direction when it came to him. During Lent I decided that my Lenten practice would be to pray for him every day. He didn’t change, but in God’s mercy, I did. Instead of all those feelings that ate at me, I found compassion, kindness, and God’s love surrounding him. It was a different way to see and I am so grateful for what the experience taught me. I, too, can be arrogant, unkind, irritating, all those characteristics that I had assigned to him. More importantly, I can heal in the love of God overshadowing all of us.

  3. Kathy,Kathy, Kathy, Oh my dear friend you know so much about me, and the words of comfort you offer me are so meaningful. I think I’m somewhat of a split personality, sometimes I can be so underdtanding and say the right things, and there are those times when everthing that comes out of my mouth just never come out right. It’s easier to remember the times I failed to say or do the compassionate thing, because each time I’ve hurt someone I have had such a deep regretful feeling in m heart. I’ve learned that some people have the gift to practice tough love, I’m not that person. it just come off mean and nonproductive. My gift “I believe” is listening, and just sitting near by with tissues and an open ear followed up with a soft hug. Once when a very dear friend did the most unselfish thing a mother could do, she knew she was unable to take care of her 1 and 2 year old as children need to be. she gave them up for adoption. That night we sat all night at Wenchel and drank coffee, while she poured her heart out and cried I was mute and just listened.

  4. So very, very needed. Thanks for the reminder…


  5. I think I have a little bit of Becky in me in that I come equipped with a listening ear and a handkerchief since I am not in the habit of carrying a box of tissues.
    A few years ago, I forgave someone offensive not because of my personal encounter with him but because I listened to the person he has offended. Forgiveness is contagious. – – Cris

  6. As appropriate as ever, this poem helps me keep perspective.

    God, open my eyes so I may see
    And feel Your presence close to me…
    Give me strength for my stumbling feet
    As I battle the crowd on life’s busy street,
    And widen the vision of my unseeing eyes
    So in passing faces I’ll recognize
    Not just a stranger, unloved and unknown,
    But a friend with a heart that is much like my own….
    Give me perception to make me aware
    That scattered profusely on life’s thoroughfare
    Are the best gifts of God that we daily pass by
    As we look at the world with an unseeing eye.

    by Helen Steiner Rice

  7. Seeing others through the eyes of God is impossible for me. I am too burdened by my human sight and perspective. I am too judgmental of those around me and not judgmental enough when looking inward. Please pray for me.

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