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Second Sunday of Advent
December 8, 2013

So, out of curiosity, what are you – lion or lamb?
Fables, fairy tales, stories and movies have used animals to tell us about human nature. As I reflected on this Sunday’s reading of the peaceable kingdom, I cycled through many tales and movies that helped me focus on human nature via animals. Some that come to mind are Little Red Riding Hood verses, The Big Bad Wolf, The Three Pigs verses, another sly and greedy Big Bad Wolf, the sly fox who eats the gingerbread man before anyone else can, or the Ugly Duckling who discovers her beauty. We also can remember the cowardly but noble-hearted Lion who finally discovers his bravery when he reaches Oz. Then we can also consider the sacrifice of Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia and The Lion King for their people.

We are …
Noble and cowardly
Strong and meek
Hardworking and lazy
Sly and cunning
Gentle and mean
Stubborn and determined

So we might ask the question – considering the outcasts of the stories, is there any chance of them being welcomed?
So, what’s the good news for today? In the first reading we discover that the same spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel and strength, and fear of the Lord is alive in all of us. The same Spirit in Jesus is alive in us. Another piece of good news is that we will not be judged by rumor or appearance. Peace will come to all of us. In the second reading we learn that God’s faithfulness is enduring and God does not give up on us. The scriptures are written to encourage us and give us hope. In the gospel we hear that God will hear the cry of the poor and the afflicted and slay the wicked. Christ comes to help us find our way.
So, what are we being called to? We are being invited to be lit on fire by the Holy Spirit. We are being challenged to repent and forgive ourselves and others. We are being asked to change our cold stoney hearts to soft ones. We are being led to change our critical eyes to seeing with our hearts. We are being encouraged to let the light shine in the darkness of our spiritual homes. We are being drawn to welcome one another as Christ did so we can live in harmony and hope with one another.
When I taught in Reno, I worked with a difficult family. Most teachers quit after one year. The two children in this family were my entire caseload. I ended up leaving my ministry in Reno after four years and had a hard time forgiving this family. However, I would have never experienced the fulfillment and satisfaction of my work at California School for the Blind without letting go.
There is a new movie out called “Filomena.” Sisters took in women who were pregnant out of wedlock. They thought these women should pay big for their sins. They worked four years to pay their debt after giving up their babies. The sisters had it wrong. Jesus would have forgiven. Will we be able to give someone who has messed up a second chance? Will we be able to open our hearts and doors to someone who is outcast in our own families?
I want you to imagine the Lord, God coming to you. The Lord, God holds your hand, or gazes into your eyes, or places His hand on your shoulder. The Lord, God says to you, “I am coming to your neighborhood very soon. I want to invite you to a banquet. I want to celebrate my Son’s birthday. Will you come? It won’t be the same without you.” So, what gift will I bring this Christmas?
Sister Ann Marie Gelles