Second Sunday of Advent: Cycle A

December 4, 2022.

Growing up we play games like Hide and Seek, I Spy with My Little Eye, and Where’s Waldo.  They are aimed at trying to find someone or something that was hidden or hard to find.   

I think in life, we all at some point, look for signs from God.   We want to know He is real, that He is paying attention, that He is acting.  Where is He?     

One of the paradoxes of Advent is that as we prepare for the coming of Jesus, preparing to celebrate His first coming at Bethlehem and preparing for His second coming at the end of time, we know that He is already here.  His kingdom is an already, but not yet, reality for us.  He is coming but he is here.     

That is what Saint John the Baptist is getting at when he calls out in today’s Gospel:  The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  We’ll experience the fullness of the Kingdom when Jesus comes again.  But Jesus began to usher in the Kingdom by coming to be with us.  Where Jesus is, there is His Kingdom.   

Remember, the fullness of the Kingdom is in heaven.  There it will be perfect – beyond what we can comprehend now.   And because Jesus is with us here and now, we can experience a bit of His kingdom here and now.  We can get a glimpse – a taste – of the Kingdom. But are we looking for it?  And where do we find it?  

In the second reading today Saint Paul reminds us that all that we know and learn about God, is aimed at giving us hope.   

Hope is not the absence of hardship, suffering, or struggle.  Hope is the ability to get through it – to keep on going.   

So God’s kingdom is a Kingdom of Hope.   And we experience it when he have hope.  So how do we find hope?    

I think the Prophet Isaiah gives us an important clue in the first reading today.  Isaiah makes the prophecy … a little child will guide them.  Certainly, Isaiah is speaking about the birth of Jesus.  God becoming one of us.  His birth at Bethlehem.   

But as profound and mysterious the Mystery of the Incarnation is – we can also recognize how simple, how humble the coming of Jesus was.  

It’s been said that Christmas is for children.  While Christmas is for all us of us, I think there is some very important and helpful wisdom in that statement.  So many Christmas movies and stories remind us that children are able to see and understand what adults can complicate or over analyze.  Children see the world with the perspective of what is possible.  The see with eyes of hope.   

So perhaps to find hope, to have hope, to recognize that the kingdom of God is at hand, we need to see with eyes of children.   

I’m not saying: 

  • to be childish, but to be childlike.   
  • Not to be immature, but mature enough to see what really matters.   
  • Not to be gullible, but to truly believe.   
  • Not to throw caution to the wind, but to trust.   
  • Not to be naïve, but to hope.  
  • Not to be irresponsible, but to be responsive to God’s invitation to hope even in the hard stuff.     

To see with the trustful, hopeful, believing, joyful eyes of child.   To allow that vision to lead us.  To behold the kingdom of God in our midst.   

Then we allow the prophecy of Isaiah to be really realized. 

  • That the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb 
  • the leopard shall lie down with the kid 
  • the calf and the young lion shall browse together. 

Then what we sang in the responsorial psalm will be a reality.  That justice shall flourish and the fullness of peace will be forever. 

Then the endurance, encouragement, and harmony that Saint Paul talks about in the second reading will be truly experienced in our lives.   

Hope is all around us.  We just have to find it.   

We live in a world where it is easy to find the bad, the broken, to see what is wrong.   And to keep looking at it, over and over.   

But we need to look for those signs of hope.   And believe me, they are all around.  

Sometimes they’re just hidden among all the other things grabbing our attention.  But when we keep an eye out for them, we find them.   

Let’s look for the signs of hope in the little things this week – the simple things.  Maybe in the smile of a stranger, the beauty of nature, in an unexpected blessing or little surprise that comes our way.  

Hope is there.  We need to grab hold of it.  If we expect the worst, we will miss the best.  If we live in hope, we will not be disappointed.   

Let’s look for – open our eyes to the signs of Jesus’ presence this week and the hope it brings us.  And when keep our eyes open for Him, we will find Him.   Because He always finds us.   

Father Neil Sullivan