Homily Second Sunday of Advent Year B Prepare the way

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Homily: Second Sunday of Advent Year B


Reading 1: Isaiah the prophet speaks to those in exile in Babylon and those who were left in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. God’s words through Isaiah are meant to give them comfort and hope. The prophet announces that the time of chastisement for breaking their covenant with God is about to come to an end.


To the exiles, God will lead them back to the promised Land through the desert as he did when he freed their ancestors from bondage in Egypt centuries before. But this time it will be a smoother journey, not forty years. As God revealed his glory to their ancestors, so he will reveal his glory to them. Just as the exiles from Egypt saw the glory of God but still rebelled, the exiles from Babylon will see the glory of God and rejoice.


Then to the remnant in Jerusalem, he urges them to prepare to welcome their kinsmen on their return. For as a shepherd leads and feeds his flock, so God will do the same.


The Church applies this to us today as we recall the coming of the Messiah to save us. We are to likewise cry out and be heralds of glad tidings. Here is our God, who comes with power to free u and save us. Here is the Shepherd, who carries us, leading us with care and feeding us.


Prepare the way of the Lord.  Last Sunday we heard, “be watchful and alert.” Today, we are to make ready in our lives for the new coming of Christ in the present moment. St. John Paul II said: “Advent was a time of watchfulness, prayer and deeper conversion.


Gospel: John the Baptist picks us the theme of Isaiah: Prepare the way of the Lord. First of all, it tells us that the Lord was near. Second, it shows people how to prepare through repentance of sin. Thirdly, manifesting that desire by being baptized as an external sign of the internal desire. Fourth, pointing to the greater reality of who the Lord is. Fifth, acknowledging that he will baptize with the Holy Spirit.


The message of John is just as relevant today as it was then. We are called to prepare the way as the Lord comes to us in a fresh new way at this time. How do we truly prepare? Repentance of sins, namely through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  This was the same inaugural message of Jesus: Repent. The Kingdom of God is at hand. This was the message of Peter to the crowds on Pentecost. Repent. Turn away from your sins. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the external sign of the interior reality of repentance.


We were baptized with water in the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of regeneration, Baptism. We were anointed with the fire of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. Jesus comes once more to stir into flame the life of the Holy Spirit within us so that there is a greater desire for union with God through holiness. He also comes to stir in us a greater desire to witness to others in the power of the Holy Spirit the good news of God’s love. We are to take up the prophetic mantle of Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus and Peter and continue the work of God by first preparing the way of the Lord in our own hearts and then preparing the way of the Lord in the hearts of others.


Reading 2: As the people of the Old Covenant cried out for centuries for the Messiah to come, we too, the people of the New Covenant, have been anticipating his coming again for over 2000 years. The Messiah came in the fullness of time, when all was ready.  He will come again when we least expect him. Why the delay? Peter says: “not wishing that any shall perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This is a time of mercy.


But that he will come is certain. What sort of persons should we be? Peter says: “Conduct yourselves in holiness, devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God…Be found without spot or blemish before him.”


Advent is that annual time of grace in our spiritual journey for us to renew our longing for Christ in the present moment and at the end of time. It is a time for us to turn back to the Lord and of responding to his grace to grow in love and in relationship with him. 

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