Advent is here and as we get closer, day by day, to the birth of our Lord and Savior, we reflect on the hope of the coming kingdom of heaven. In the following lectio divina reflection, we focus on this hope. John the Baptist brings a message of hope to all those coming to him for baptism. Hopefully this Sunday’s Gospel reading brings a sense of true hope to us as well. Are we continually looking ahead to when we will reach the kingdom of heaven? Do we have hope that we will reach it one day? Or have we forgotten the significance of Christ’s birth in our own, modern lives?
That’s a lot to think about. I encourage you to close your eyes, say a prayer, calm your mind, and then join me in reflecting on the Gospel passage for this second Sunday of Advent.
To follow along with me on this lectio divina prayer time, you will want to have the upcoming Sunday Gospel reading for December 4 handy. If you need to review the steps of lectio divina you can find a quick outline from St. Meinrad Archabbey. Remember to read the Gospel passage at the start of each of the four sections below (the ones that start with an “R” word).
Repent; acknowledged their sins; produce good fruit.
RESPOND: What is God saying to you?
The Gospel reading for Sunday always seems to me to come across as harsh and ruthless. It appears as if John the Baptist is attempting to turn the Pharisees and Sadducees away, but in reading this through a couple times, I see more and more that John is really relaying a message of hope. They, too, can be baptized but they must show repentance. How do we show our repentance? We must produce good fruit. John the Baptist is not just speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees, but to all who are listening, including us the readers. Our good works alone will not gain us entry into the kingdom of heaven. We must repent, be baptized, and then go forth and do good works, that is, produce good fruits.
In this passage I hear God’s message of hope. I need to get to confession more than once or twice a year (which has been an improvement for me, but I’m striving for more), I need to continually work at always acting as an image of God, and I need to show Christ’s love in all I think, say, and do.
RESPOND: What do you want to say to God?
Thank you, God, for the gift of the sacraments, particularly of baptism and reconciliation. I pray that I can be more mindful of my thoughts, words, and actions. Help me where I fall and forgiven me for my transgressions.
Spend some time in silence after your fourth reading of the passage.
Share in the comments, what do you feel God is saying to you in this passage? How would you respond to him?