Second Sunday of Advent Year A
First reading Isaiah 11:1-10
Second reading Romans 15:4-9
Gospel Matthew 3:1-12
Dear friends, today is the second Sunday in the Advent season, a period preceding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ; as we light the second candle today, the word of God is inviting us to reflect on the theme: “The time for repentance has come”. The advent season is a moment of repentance and conversion as we are waiting for the Savior.
Thus in the first reading, we hear how the prophet Isaiah through poetic language expresses the future life on the earth. He begins this passage by introducing the expression “on that day” which refers to God’s time in the Biblical language. The prophet has located us in the future moment; a period chosen by God himself on his own accord to fulfill his will through the messiah. At that particular moment, God will choose someone from the stump of Jesse the father of king David to accomplish a specific mission. In order to fulfill this, God will give him his own Spirit (the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord). This is an indication that the branch that will grow out of the root of Jesse will be the Messiah. His role will consist of governing and rendering the right judgment upon the earth. He will exterminate injustice by putting to death all those who do evil things.
At the same moment, there will be reconciliation, union, and harmony on the face of the earth; the wild and domestic animals and human beings shall stay together on the holy mountain of the Lord. This will happen because the earth shall have the full knowledge of the Lord. Prior to that day, the people of God and the Gentiles must go through the process of conversion and repentance in order to appear holy before the Almighty God on his holy mountain.
In the gospel reading, saint Matthew tells us about the mission of John the Baptist. His mission consisted of proclaiming repentance and the conversion of the hearts of the Jewish along the line that got corrupted like their fathers in the Old Testament. The time that prophet Isaiah is mentioning about in the first reading has arrived; the time of the Messiah (Jesus Christ). He did this from Jerusalem going through all the regions of Judea. He challenged the Pharisees and Sadducees to put aside their hypocrisy in order to embrace Jesus fully for they were known for their wickedness and since they were religious leaders, they have led astray many of their followers. He also baptized with water that cleanses sins and made people ready to receive the baptism of Holy Spirit which Jesus himself will give.
Those who accepted the baptism and the message of John the Baptist were people who lived harmoniously in their different communities and treasured the Scriptures.
In the second saint Paul reminded the Romans why the Scriptures are written: according to the apostle, it was written to alert the people of God to have the spirit of encouragement and steadfastness or endurance. It means that Christ’s followers must be identified by these two characteristics. Where encouragement and endurance are present, there must be also harmony and unity. The harmony that comes from God, harmony through which brothers and sisters are able to advise and challenge each other when things are going wrong. Paul finished his admonition by reminding the Romans that Jesus Christ came to live with the circumcised people and by doing so he draws to himself the Gentiles as well. That means that on the holy mountain of the Lord, all nations shall be present.
Brethren, the time of repentance and conversion is a time whereby we are called upon to (1) quest for the full knowledge of God, (2) get involved in God’s mission, and (3) live a life of unity and harmony.
- Quest for the full knowledge of God: to have a full knowledge of someone is to enjoy a personal and intimate relationship with that person (Gn. 4:1). When that person is the Lord, the relationship demands and prompts the fear which shows itself in moral concern (Gn. 20:11), obedience (Ex. 20:20”, sensitive conduct (Ne. 5:9, 15), loyalty (Ps. 2:11), and worship (Ps. 5:7). In brief, the knowledge of God in the Biblical language takes into consideration moral discipline, obedience to God, sensitivity conduct, loyalty, and the worship.
However, we notice that there is injustice, wickedness, and perpetual fear between humans and animals because we haven’t yet had the full knowledge of God. So today we are called upon to grasp the full knowledge of God and the advent period is the best moment to do so through serious meditation on the Holy Scriptures.
- Get involved in the mission into God’s mission: Just as John the Baptist was involved entirely in announcing and proclaiming the time of repentance and conversion to his contemporaries, we are also invited to do so in order to save souls. The advent season is a time of conversion and repentance but it’s also a season of getting involved in the mission of God. And this mission must begin from within us; we cannot preach what we ourselves we are not leaving, in others words, the acts of conversion and repentance must be noticed in our lives before we can proclaim it to others. Those who will join God in his holy mountain where all the living creatures shall be together are people who must first undergo the process of conversion.
- Live the life of unity and harmony: by living harmonious life, we are drawing people to God’s kingdom and we are spreading the knowledge of God to all nations for God is unity and lives in perfect harmony with God the Son and the God Holy Spirit but also to his creatures.
Dear friends, the time of repentance and conversion has come, let us purify ourselves in order to be in harmony with God but also with other creatures of the Lord.
Fr. Issere Agre, SVD
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