Today’s readings have two major themes—hope and vigilance. We hope in the second coming of Jesus and we are vigilant in our efforts to live his love more perfectly in our lives every day. Did you ever see a stump or a tree that you thought was dead and a little sprout starts growing out of it? That is often what faith is like. Sometimes, we feel dry or sad, or like we are alone, but then a little sprout of hope enters our hearts.
Our first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah tells us about the “just shoot” from the line of King David. Jesus is that shoot—things looked really bad for Israel at the time that Jesus came into the world. Life was hard and scary and the people wondered why God wasn’t helping them. Then, Jesus came. He came to bring hope where there wasn’t much and he taught us how to remember that God was always with us, even when things looked bleak. The seed of hope is what God plants in us to begin our preparation to receive the healing that Jesus came to bring us.