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Summary: As with all relationships we have to prepare ourselves for a deeper union with Jesus.

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Seeds for Sowing, Vol. VI, Issue 1, No. 2

Second Sunday of Advent - Year A

Decxember 9, 2001

Readings:

* Isaiah 11:1-10

* Romans 15:4-9

* Mt. 3:1-12

Preparing the Soil

Removing Obstacles

Creating something new often requires that we first remove any obstacles to that new creation.

For instance, putting up a new building first requires that we prepare the land. Many rocks, bushes and trees, at times, have to be removed. At times, wet lands have to be filled in with soil so that a new building will be able to have a stronger foundation. If you don’t get rid of the obstacles, you simply cannot build. Try putting a foundation on a piece of land filled with stumps, bush, water and rocks and see what will happen. It just can’t be done.

When we enter into a new relationship with a person, one of the tasks we have to engage in is removing obstacles to that relationship. Some people know each other at work or at church for years, but they never get close because, at times, there are obstacles to furthering such a relationship. Perhaps, some surface things like appearance or language, or an apparent difference of opinion or lifestyle, keep people apart. Only when those obstacles get swept aside do two people have any chance of really becoming friends.

And so our opening prayer reminds us: "Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory."

Preparing the Ground

If we have purchased a piece of land and want to build our home there, we carefully look at the land and ask ourselves: What do I need to do in order to prepare this land for my home? As we reflect on our lives we could ask: What are the major obstacles that hinder us from really receiving Christ into our lives?

Are we allowing a certain sin to constantly drag us down, robbing us of our peace and injecting sadness into everything we do? Perhaps it is something that happened in the past, something that we consider to be such a heavy burden that we don’t know how we have carried it so long and so far. And even though we have asked and received forgiveness for this sin, still we haven’t quite accepted that forgiveness.

We still relive the past in our imaginations, still blaming ourselves, still wishing it had never happened. If such is the case, we need to focus on Jesus Christ and not on ourselves. Jesus wants to free us from these past burdens. He died to bring us freedom. In today’s Psalm we hear that, "He will have pity in the weak and save the lives of the poor". God is a God of mercy, forgiveness and freedom. Bring your burdens to the Lord and leave them there.

Present Sin

Or perhaps you find yourself trapped in some present sinful situation. You may even in some way be obsessed with this sin in your life. You fear that no matter what you may try, you will still remain trapped. Be careful. Sometimes we give more power to sin in our lives than it really possesses.

Listen to this. An old farmer had plowed around a large rock in one of his fields for years. He had broken several plowshares and a cultivator on it and had grown rather morbid about the rock.

After breaking another plowshare one day, and remembering all the trouble the rock had caused him through the years, he finally decided to do something about it. When he put the crowbar under the rock, he was surprised to discover that it was only about six inches thick and that he could break it up easily with a sledgehammer. As he was carting the pieces away he had to smile, remembering all the trouble that the rock had caused him over the years and how easy it would have been to get rid of it sooner.

Don’t Give Up

St. Paul encourages us not to give up. He says that scripture shows us how people who did not give up were helped by God. Discouragement is the enemy when we start thinking about changing our lives. We seem to have tried so many times, and failed so many times. It’s easy to start thinking that any effort at real change is headed down the road to ultimate failure. Why try again if we know we won’t succeed? Remember: discouragement is the enemy. Don’t give in.

When we are having trouble with a friendship or with a marriage, often we can think of nothing else. We are forever trying to figure out what to do to set things right. And many times it is through reflection and observation that we come to some breakthrough. But most often it is through dialogue with our friend or spouse that we finally see our way clear. We find a solution to the problem and are once again able to set things right.

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