Monthly Archives: November 2016

2nd Sunday of Advent – Year A

She will flourish like the palm tree

and will grow like a Lebanon cedar




Israel was a tree that the Lord had germinated and then cultivated. Later the enemy came, armed with the lumberjack’s ax. They had smashed with merciless blows and reduced it to a bare and desolate trunk (Ps 74:5-6).


It is our history. We are at the mercy of the forces of evil that enslave us. They take away the light and breath from us. We become dried branches, unable to bear fruit.


But woe if we lose hope.


In the future days—the prophets assured—Israel will take root, blossom, and sprout and fill the world with fruit (Is 27:6). I shall be like the dew to Israel—the Lord says—like the lily will he blossom. Like a cedar he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow and spread. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance, like a Lebanon cedar.


Nothing is impossible to him that has made even the dry stick of Aaron to flourish (Ex 17:3).


According to the promises of the Lord, from the root of Jesse, a vigorous tree has sprouted—Christ—in which all are grafted. From him, the sap will come to maintain its lushness and will make every tree planted in the garden by God produce abundant fruit.


There are no desperate situations for those who believe in the Lord.


To internalize the message, we repeat:
“We fear the axes of our enemies, but not that of God who removes the malignant plants from our garden.”


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1st Sunday of Advent – Year A

A Judgment That Saves


“Fear the judgment of God.”


It is the threat that is still used by some preachers, as a deterrent—less and less effective—to distract us from evil.


The image of a judge God is present in the gospel, especially in that of Matthew in which it appears on almost every page. What’s the point?


The final showdown is too far away and too uncertain to make an impact on today’s choices. More importantly, this final judgment, of a forensic type, pronounced by God at the end of life will no longer be of help to anyone. At that point, it will be impossible for anyone to make up for the lost or badly used time.


We are interested in another judgment of God: the one he utters in the present.


Faced with the choice that we are all called to do, we listen to many judgments: that of friends, advertising, fashion, vanity, jealousy, pride, current morality … There is also… too often weak, muted, overwhelmed by other judgments, the judgment of God, the only one that shows the way of life, the only one that at the end will prove to be valid.


To keep watch means being able to discern, to be able to grasp this judgment that comes on time, although in the most unexpected ways and times.


To internalize the message, we repeat:
“Make me follow, O Lord, your judgments.”


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