As we begin the new liturgical year and this new season of Advent, it is fruitful to consider the readings that the Church presents to us on this first Sunday, because it sets the agenda for the whole of the season and the year. It has been said that if Christmas were removed from the bible, all that would be lost would be about a chapter and a half from the beginning of both Matthew and Luke; but if the sense of preparation, expectancy, hope and longing that lies at the heart of the season of Advent were removed from the scriptures, you would have to delete about half of the Old Testament and most of the New.

So the first reading, taken from towards the end of the prophet Isaiah, contains a reflection on the nature of sin. Today, I want to reflect on three of the images that Isaiah uses to describe sin – straying, withered leaves and clay.

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Recorded at St Mary’s, Leppington 8am (7’10”)