Homily — 2nd Sunday Advent A December 9, 2007

Homily — 2nd Sunday Advent A            December 9, 2007

 A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse.

In the First Reading the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah paints us an image of a big old tree stump.

Picture that big stump alone in a field, hundreds of years having gone by from the day the ax was laid to the base of the tree that was part of the stump.

Back then, there was a majestic, giant tree which towered over the others in the forest, providing food and shade and protection to those who lived under it.

But after a while, the tree stopped bearing the good fruit it should have borne, and so this giant tree was cut down and thrown into the fire, and all that remained for 600 years was this old, dead looking stump.

But then, 600 years after the Jesse tree was cut down, a tiny shoot sprouts up from this old stump.  It grows bigger and bigger, and miraculously sends sap back into the old roots, until that stump is now a tree even bigger and more majestic than the old tree was.

And then this mighty new Jesse tree begins to form buds, that then begin to blossom flowers.  As the Psalm says Justice shall flower on this Jesse Tree, and profound peace also shall flower, till the moon be no more.

The full flowering of  wisdom and understanding will blossom in abundance on that Jesse tree, as well as counsel and fortitude, knowledge and piety and fear of the Lord, all of which will be pollinated throughout the world from this great Jesse tree.

That is Isaiah’s Prophecy, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of King David’s father Jesse, a stump that had been dead, that bore no shoots, no Kings, for 600 years, until Jesus Christ, a direct descendant of Jesse and of King David, came and sprouted forth into this world, establishing an even more glorious kingdom than the one of old.

My brothers and sisters, Jesus is the shoot that can sprout out of 600-year-old stumps.  And the Holy Season of Advent is a time when we are invited by John the Baptist to come out into the wilderness and take a good hard look at the dead, lifeless stumps that can be found in us, and in our Church.

It is a time when we need to take a good hard look at those  places in our life and in the life of our Church where justice and profound peace should be flowering, but instead there’s just a dead stump, because our sins have cut down what Jesus wanted to grow and flourish in our world.

Let us use wisely this Season of Advent to morn over the devastated forest of our soul, where those trees of Wisdom and Courage and Fear of the Lord have been cut down by our own sins and by our lukewarmness toward our faith.

Because if we lay bare those dead stumps of our soul to God this Advent, a shoot shall sprout from those dead stumps, and from them a bud shall blossom.

Christ, the Jesse Tree, will come in power into our lives, and His Justice and Profound peace will again flourish and be ours this coming Christmas Season and New Year.

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