Advent: A Reflection on Jeremiah 33:14-16

November 28, 2021

The days are coming—oracle of the Lord—when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 

In those days, at that time, I will make a just shoot spring up for David; he shall do what is right and just in the land. 

 In those days Judah shall be saved and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; this is the name they shall call her: “The Lord our justice.”   

(Jer 33:14-16)

Three small verses, yet they bring us into Advent with all the promise, longing, and assurance that this season is meant to give. Jeremiah is almost bursting with hope and anticipates the days of fulfillment as he proclaims these words! The days are coming…in those days and at that time… in those days…Three times he refers to the wonderful days that have been promised and are coming… just in case we should miss it!

This passage, probably written to the post-exilic community, reminded them, and us, that the promises that have been made will be fulfilled. New life will spring from what seems to be the barren stump of David’s line and there will be safety and justice for a people who have suffered through years of danger and all kinds of injustice. You can just imagine a bent over, yet deeply believing people straightening up and standing proud as Jeremiah proclaimed what the Lord had given him to say, as Jeremiah reminded them of who they were and how God would be faithful!

Is there a bent over, yet deeply believing part of you that needs to embrace these words and which begins to stand straight as you hear these promises?  A part of you that needs to remember who and whose you are? Our Advent days invite us to live into hope and certainty about our future! As you reflect on this passage you might ask yourself: what post-suffering or injured part of me needs to hear these words? Which part of the passage speaks to  that hurt inside of you? Stay with that for a while.  

What are the promises God has made to you, to all of us?  Will you let yourself really hear and believe that God will fulfill the promises God has made to you, even if the time has seemed long and the hurt has been deep?  Can you hear and believe–better yet can you even see that small green shoot trying to push through any hard “stumpiness” in you?  

Advent calls us to leave any hardness that may have formed around any part of our spirit to  look for and nourish the new life trying to break through. Ask for that grace! You start by acknowledging that God is still active in your life, then use your Advent eyes and heart to look for and nourish the signs of new life, however small they may be!

New life longs to burst forth in each one of us, if we will but tend to what God has already planted within… and this is the season for doing so.  We will find ourselves bathed in many more of God’s promises of new life and hope as these Advent days move on, but for today,in these words from Jeremiah, we are given some incredible promises:

  • God will help me stand erect in the spots of my life where I feel most bent over. 
    • What are they? Speak to the God who wants to free you…
  • God will bring new life out of the very places I think are hopeless and hardened.
    • Are there places where you have just given up on ever feeling ”okay” about? Speak to the one who can soothe you and speak truth to your soul…
  • God will see that “right” is done so that I experience both justice and the ability to dwell in peace.
    • Is there some hurt I carry that just does not seem fair?  Speak to the sinless one who conquered all the pain the world can throw at you.  Be honest, God wants to give you God’s peace…

    Our Advent journey begins with hope and assurances – we would do well to look for all the “new” life that God is already bringing forth. And so, we begin.

    See, I am doing something new!  Now, it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  In the wilderness God makes a way… (Is. 43:19)

     

    Go Deeper:

    • Using the prayer method of Lectio Divina, consider praying with this Jeremiah passage from the first Sunday of Advent, or any other readings from Sunday.
    • Pray an guided audio Lectio Divina of the Jeremiah passage. 
    • Check out our other praying with scripture resources here
    • It’s not too late to register for our online Advent Retreat, We Are Not Alone. Join us and let’s journey together to Christmas.

    Photo by KaLisa Veer on unsplash.com 

     

    Sr. Janelle Sevier is a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, an international congregation of religious women who live and serve in 17 countries and on five continents. A native of Baton Rouge, and currently working there as a Pastoral Associate, she has also ministered in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Haiti, and in the United States: in the Archdiocese of Boston as well as Baton Rouge. Janelle has been involved in many areas of ministry: formal and informal teaching as well as faith formation and spirituality with a great variety of groups. Giving retreats and offering spiritual direction has been part of her ministry throughout. She has a passion for working with others to help deepen the experience of God within individuals and in our communities of faith, and especially with groups often overlooked by society.

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