Homily Second Sunday of Advent Year C With hope and joy prepare the way

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Homily Second Sunday of Advent Year C

Reading 1: The Old Testament prophets prepared the people several centuries before for the expected coming of the promised Messiah. We have just read from the prophet Baruch. He is sharing in the exile of the people of Israel from their homeland in Judea. In exile the people mourned that their sacred city Jerusalem was overtaken, sacked and destroyed along with their Temple.

Baruch, anticipating what God was about to do to fulfill his prophetic word, tells the people to stop mourning over the past and start rejoicing for the marvelous thing God was about to do. God will return the exiles back to Jerusalem. They left in disgrace and shame; now He will return them in glory and splendor.

God will make a way and go before his people. In this he picks up a theme from the prophet Isaiah that we heard in the Gospel. “For God has commanded….so that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.”

There is much gloom and doom in our present world: fear and anxiety, increase number of suicides and overdoses; the political stalemate in Washington; the roller coaster uncertainty of the stock market. The word of God is clear: “God is leading his people in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and justice for company.”

What must we do? We are called to look to the Lord for our salvation and help. During this Advent season we remember the marvelous gift that God gave us in the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. And we look to his second coming in glory. Both should give us hope and joy.

Reading 2: Paul reminds the people in Philippi that “the one who began a good work in them will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus’ second coming in glory. What is that good work? Our salvation, which has come through faith in God who freed us from sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

 Last Sunday the prayer of Paul was that the people would abound in love for one another and continue to please God. Today, he returns to the theme of love, “that your love may increase even more and more in knowledge to discern what is of value and to grow in holiness.” By this way of life we give glory to God as others see our love and way of life. What greater gift in response to the coming of Jesus than that of sincere love.

Gospel: Last Sunday, the liturgy invited us to see Advent as a time of preparation for the Savior’s birth, the dawn of salvation. Today, John gives us the reason for our hope and joy. He proclaims to us again in our own day, recalling the words of Isaiah the prophet: Prepare the way of the Lord. Repent so that you may see the salvation of God. He was speaking to the people of his day for the Messiah had come and the people were being prepared to receive and accept him. How? John’s call was for repentance and renewal, symbolized by being baptized in the water of the Jordan. Repentance for sin was the first step to opening one’s heart to the Savior. Was this not the initial message of Jesus’ preaching: Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand?

John is speaking to us today. We have been regenerated by the water of baptism and yet we need to prepare ourselves for the present coming of Jesus as well as his future coming. The people of John’s day struggled to recognize and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. We too can miss his presence in the present moment and get caught up with the busyness of daily life that we fail to see, welcome and accept him as our Lord and Savior.

Christmas is not just celebrating a past event but making that moment a present reality here and now in our lives. We are called to be attentive to the present coming of Jesus. As we embrace him now, then we hopefully will be prepared to embrace him in his second coming.

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