Reflection on 2nd Sunday of Advent: 8th December 2019

Allowing God’s Word to Speak to Us

On 30th September 2019 Cardinal Vincent Nichols officially launched the Year of the Word under the title, ‘The God Who Speaks’.  His prayer is that we may all be enriched and transformed by the living Word of God.  Perhaps we may do no more than read the Scripture passages for each Sunday. But maybe we could spend more time with them, allowing God’s word to speak to us and transform us.

In today’s gospel reading, God speaks to us about repentance which is much more than just being sorry for the past. The word usually translated as “repent” is the Greek word metanoia; this might be best translated as “turn around your mind” or change. It involves a deep and radical change in one’s thinking and behaviour.  But most of us won’t move toward any new way of thinking or actual change until we’re forced to, which usually means some form of suffering or some disturbance that upsets our habitual path. Those are our experiences of inner wilderness where we face the truth of who we are and what our life is like. Sometimes we go to the wilderness, other times it comes to us. Either way it is hard work which most of us would rather avoid. There is no quick fix. There is no way out of or around the wilderness. The only way is through the wilderness. It’s the place where our lives can be transformed, the place we are most open to changing and being changed. For every wilderness there comes the word of God.

In the wilderness of exile the word of God speaks of coming home: ‘Make your home in me as I make mine in you.’

John 15:4

In the wilderness of doubting our self-worth the word of God speaks of our divine origin: ‘Let us make man in our own image and likeness.’

Gen 1:26

In the wilderness of the restlessness of anxiety the word of God speaks of stillness: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’

Psalm 46

In the wilderness of apparent absence of God the word of God speaks words of presence: ‘Truly Yahweh is in this place and I never knew it.’

Gen 28

Hidden within every wilderness is the beauty of divine presence.

Various sources including Michael Marsh