Advent invites us to walk the path of hope, prepare for peace Christ brings
Living the Word/By Sister Rachel Bergschneider, OSB
Fourth Sunday of Advent/Dec. 19
Micah 5:1-4a; Psalm 80:2-3,15-16,18-19; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45
The last Sunday of Advent brings into focus the promise of a new and glorious age. We anticipate with the ancient Scriptures the birth of One who promises hope and peace to our weary world. The road to this hope had been anything but smooth.
For us who place our hope on the message of Jesus, God Incarnate, it is critical that we remember and count on the good news of the Savior in the midst of chaos and disruption of life.
The olive tree is an apt example of the twisted and tormented history of the people from ancient times to the birth of Jesus. Its trunk reveals hundreds and at times a thousand years of battering winds and interior decay. The center section disintegrates and new “trees” form around the outer edge, to merge again into the wider arch of the “new” olive tree. Between the roots to the fruit we meet the gnarled tree which baffles the laws of life only to continue producing the fruit of its labor. (Carroll Stuhlmueller)
But the promise was to hold true. The Messiah came from the roots planted so many centuries ago.
As we approach the feast of Christ’s birth into our world today, we are painfully aware of the twisted trunk that has been our history. We experience battered winds of division and the interior decay of corruption that grip parts of our world. The peace, respect, and hope of the promised Savior keep getting battered into the partisan and destructive behavior of self-serving ideologies.
For us who place our hope on the message of Jesus, God Incarnate, it is critical that we remember and count on the good news of the Savior in the midst of chaos and disruption of life. We, as inheritors of the promised new kingdom have the responsibility to clear the path that brings hope. Hope enlarges as we work in solidarity as a community of faith. “And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And this shall be peace.” (Micah 5:3-4)
Mary’s humility and strength to believe the words of the angel that she would bear the Son of God into the world is the supreme example of hope for a new kingdom ushered in by her Son, Jesus, the Incarnate One. As Meister Eckhart said, “We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born. . . .”
SISTER RACHEL BERGSCHNEIDER, OSB, is a member of the Sisters of St. Benedict of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island. She ministers at the Peoria County Jail, serving as a facilitator in the Jobs Partnership program.