Reflections 8th December 2019

A Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent

Mt. 3: 1-12 ( ) 

What are we to make today of dreamers? What do we think of people who genuinely believe that the world doesn’t have to be the way it is and who assert that change is possible.  

The use of the word “dreamer” gives it away – we are tempted to dismiss them. They simply aren’t living in the real world. What if we change the word to “prophets” – what are we to make of them? Two key advent figures, both prophets (or dreamers!) share their wisdom with us today.  

Isaiah challenges his contemporaries who are immersed in the threat of war, corrupt leadership and failed politics to imagine something radically different. Only he wants them to do more than imagine it!  He wants them to trust that God is not sitting on his hands, that he actually cares and is offering us a different world if we would take the risk of believing it and living accordingly.  

John the Baptist is a dreamer too, but he seems to specialise in nightmares! He too believes in the faithfulness of God, just like Isaiah but he doesn’t hesitate to lay out for us the consequences of ignoring our need to change our perspective, to have a different mindset. It's what the Bible calls the need to repent!  

Advent is a season of repentance, rooted in the promise of God’s dream for us, realised in the birth of the child on whom the Spirit of the Lord rests!  It’s not something to get sentimental about; it is, rather, something to get very serious about. If we were to dream of Christmas 2019 then maybe Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl, might be our new prophet, our dreamer for the age in which we live. With all the fire of a biblical prophet she called us out on our need to repent, that is, to see things differently and act accordingly! How dare we continue to plunder and destroy this gift of God? How dare we continue to live as if the truth about the earth has not been made clear to us?  

The Sundays of Advent 2019, Reflections by Seán Goan (Co-ordinator of Spiritan Mission Ireland)