First Sunday of Advent
Jer 33: 14-16
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
A “just shoot” is coming
Today begins the Church’s season of Advent—a season of preparation, of yearning for Christ, and a season of hope.
In the translation we hear at Mass of the first reading, Jeremiah describes the Messiah as a “just shoot”—a tiny but righteous sign of life sprouting amid the devastation experienced by the ancient Jews during the Babylonian exile. In our own world today, we experience devastation in many forms—in war and violence, in the sickness and death of the pandemic, in racism and the disrespect for the dignity of human life, and in the tremendous and seemingly unending divisions in our society and even our Church.
And yet we know that a “just shoot” is coming. Hope is on the horizon. During these days when we pray “O Come, Emmanuel!” with Christians throughout the world, let us ask the Lord to stir up within us a desire for conversion, for peace, and for himself.
—Fr. Chris Kellerman, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and member of the Central and Southern Province. He serves as interim executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans and as assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, LA. In the Fall of 2022, Orbis Press will publish Chris’s new book on the history of the Catholic Church, slavery, and abolitionism.
Coming Messiah, cleanse me of my sins, prepare my heart to receive you, and infuse me with the joy and hope of your advent.
—Fr. Chris Kellerman, SJ