Out of what appears to be a dead, hopeless situation, the Lord can cause new life to sprout and rise up (see Is 11:1). Your stump might be a broken family devastated beyond reconciliation, a ruined marriage without the possibility of reuniting, or a drug-addicted child, whose mind and life cannot be rebuilt. You look at the mess, and you see a dead stump. How can any life come out of this death?
David's kingdom was splintered after his son Solomon died. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was defeated and irretrievably lost. All that remained was the tribe of Judah. All God's promises for His people seemed lost forever. Yet out of that small remnant, a Shoot sprouted (Is 11:1) and the Messiah came forth: Jesus Christ, Son of David, King of Israel, Messiah, Lord, and God.
God provides examples in His creation of death bringing the seeds for new life. Decades ago, massive wildfires destroyed much of Yellowstone National Park. For many acres, all that could be seen was a charred, blackened, lifeless forest. Yet that next year the most gorgeous wildflowers in many decades bloomed in that very area.
The Advent Scriptures proclaim that though we see a lifeless wasteland, God sees abundant life (Is 35:1, 7). We see a landscape "parched, lifeless and without water" (Ps 63:2), but God sees rivers and luxuriant trees (see Is 41:18-19). We see devastation; God sees the seeds of new life. Walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). Let your heart dare to hope. Believe the Advent Scriptures.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015.