Evangelizing Moments

Evangelizing Moments by Joe Bland

Second Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 11:1-10

Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

Romans 15:4-9

Matthew 3:1-12

What? “…the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.” (Isaiah 11:6) What is the difference between being childlike and childish?

So what? When I was a young child, I was an expert at two things: knowing how to just be and total dependence on those who were in charge of my care. What do I mean by the former (just being)? For me it meant riding my bike to the park with my cousins and friends and playing box hockey or basketball on a summer day, it meant building ramps in my grandma’s backyard to race and jump our bikes, it meant playing football with the neighborhood kids without referees or adult supervision or hiking through the woods on our farm shooting BB guns. It was the art of play, the art of leisure. It was what brought me peace. What I mean by the latter was I knew when I came home for lunch after a morning in the park that my grandma would have lunch on the table, or she was there with a bandage for a banged-up knee with medicine and a kiss. There was peace in being a child. It was before the wounds of life. I think that is what Jesus means by childlike.

Now what? The wounds of life (the so-called adult world) turn us at times to be childish. Maybe there is a reason that we are children first, so we learn how to “be” a human “being”.  At peace, so we learn how to be totally dependent on a Heavenly Father. But in our wounded world we become self-absorbed, self-centered, selfish and childish. We throw the adult versions of tantrums. Children who act out are children who do not feel that they are being listened to. We carry this into adulthood whether we realize it or not. We need to repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand, in our midst, upon you, some translations say within. (Matthew 3:2, 4:17 & Mark 1:15) To repent means to metanoia; in Greek – to turn around. We need to turn and go back and embrace the child again, that child within you and let him or her lead us to the awaiting Christ child. You see peace, like grace is a gift. We can’t cling to it but we must rest in it – it is the gift of “being”. John the Baptist tells us today that He that is to come will baptize us with fire and the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is required to make this journey back to being childlike. The Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts. (Romans 5:5) He is there already from our baptism. We must give Him permission to release the fire to the world that comes from within. Imagine what our Church would look like if all of us gave permission to the Holy Spirit to release the fire. O’ how I want to live in that Church. Friends, God in the flesh has taken the first steps toward you, now you must give the Holy Spirit permission to be released. Let that child lead you. The world needs your fire!

Happy Advent!

Have a wonderful Sunday!