Last week I wrote about Advent and its meaning and importance. However, since it’s a 4 week season, I decided that I should follow through weekly about what this week means in the big picture of Advent. So here is the second of 4 columns about Advent: Week 2 – Peace.
Last week, the first week of Advent, was Hope Sunday. As I wrote, the Gospel for last week didn’t seem very hopeful! The Gospel reading from Luke was quite scary, talking of signs that would bring terror, apprehension and fear. But it also said that our “redemption is drawing near” Christ is coming again … hopeful indeed.
This Sunday was Peace Sunday. And the readings were from Baruch (Baruch 5:1-9) and Luke (Luke 3:1-6). Baruch was a prophet, and as I told the children in my ministry, we hear a lot from the prophets this time of year. Baruch told the Israelites to “Take off your mourning clothes” and to “Dress yourself in the dignity of God’s glory forever. Wrap the justice that comes from God around yourself like a robe. Place the Eternal One’s glory on your head like a crown.” He said that if they did so, that “God will show your brilliance everywhere under heaven. God will give you this name by which to be called forever: The Peace That Comes from Justice, The Honor That Comes from Reverence for God!”
In Luke, Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, is introduced to us. John, who traveled around the area of the Jordan River calling for repentance of the people and baptizing them, fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness” He knew who was to come, and that the people had to prepare themselves for Him. Today is no different, we still must prepare ourselves to recognize Him when He returns. Looking back at last week’s readings, when He does come, peace will reign.
Peace that comes from justice, honor from revering God. Peace. It’s something we strive so hard for in the world, yet it seems so elusive. Is it even possible in this world? I would argue that it isn’t. It is possible within the individual, but not within our world. This world was made by God, but isn’t HIS Kingdom. Evil holds sway and while that condition holds, peace will never be universally found. It’s through Christ’s second coming that peace will reign.
So how do we deal with the lack of peace now? During Advent we remember that it is coming, and try to find peace through wearing God’s dignity and robe ourselves in His justice, as the first reading said. We have to remember that, as Baruch said, when we do this God will show our brilliance to the world. When we assume the peace of faith, we can’t help but exude it.
So we’ve had hope and peace … up next Joy!
Candles on the advent wreath are:
Candle 1. Hope (purple)
Candle 2. Peace (purple)
Candle 3. Joy (rose; the corresponding Sunday is “Gaudete Sunday”)
Candle 4. Love (purple)
Candle 5. Christ (white – in the middle)