HOMILY FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C
THEME: PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD
Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11
Beloved in Christ, today we celebrate the second Sunday of Advent.
The second Sunday of Advent may well be called ‘Sunday of Public works and Highways’ because both Baruch and John the Baptist speak to us about road building and repair; ‘make the ground level’, ‘straighten the crooked ways’ and ‘make the rough smooth’(cf Bar. 5:8; Luke 3:5). However, their concern is not about road repairs, though their words might remind the authorities about the need to fix our present bad roads. Rather they conveyed a message that morally crooked ways must be eradicated, the rough edges of our character must be made smooth and warped attitude straightened.
The image of the flattening the high mountains and filling out the valleys employed by both Baruch and John the Baptist is derived from the custom of having a herald precede a king when the king was going on a journey, to forewarn the inhabitants of his arrival so that they could repair their ill-kept roads. The image of the road was again to show how we can either encourage or impede God’s entrance into our lives.
John the Baptist whose preaching Luke associates with a call from God (cf Luke 3:2) began his ministry like the prophet with a CALL TO REPENTANCE. Repentance signifies not regret for the past or the performance of ‘penance’ but rather a call for a new outlook on life in keeping with the will of God. However, some of us limit repentance to the feeling of guilt or the feeling of sorry for not trying to be a better person. Feeling guilt is not repentance but just empty words and promises with no substance at all.
True repentance means:
A) We are sorry to God because we have sinned against Him and not because we are caught or we are going to be punished.
B) Don’t just feel guilty, don’t just be sorry, and don’t just make promises to repent, rather show prove that you have repented.
C) Honest acceptance of our sinfulness, for that is the beginning of real conversion and change, only in truth can repentance begin, do not justify your sins (cf Prov. 28:13).
D) A turning away from sin and a turning towards God.
The season of Advent therefore invites all Christ’s Faithful, to self-examination leading to self reform; for God’s kingdom is a rule over man’s heart and to belong to it means a change of heart manifested in a change for the better. Advent then is a challenge to repentance, a challenge to do something for God. The season of Advent is concerned with the two comings of Jesus; our preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth and our preparation for his second coming.
Beloved in Christ, in two of the Eucharistic Acclamations, we profess our faith in Jesus’ Second Coming;
A) We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
B) When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again
Celebrating Advent therefore helps us keep our focus on what lay ahead for us. It is not only about preparing for Jesus’ birth at Christmas, but also a time for us to reflect on the Second Coming of Jesus. Salvation is free, yes but it is not cheap. We therefore need to work on it.
Beloved in Christ, today also we lit the 2nd purple candle of the Advent wreath (a Christian tradition that symbolizes the passage of the four weeks of Advent), which is known as the Bethlehem Candle or the Candle of Preparation. This candle reminds us that God kept his promise of a Saviour who would be born in Bethlehem. Therefore, preparation means to ‘get ready’. This is echoed in Luke 3:4-6
‘…A voice of one crying out in the desert: prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God…’
Dear Christ’s Faithful, as we celebrate the second Sunday of Advent I pray with and for you that we may abound in love more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that we approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ (Phil. 1:9).
This has been a Fr. Dolphyne’s presentation for www.padredolphyne.WordPress.com as we celebrate the 2nd sunday of Advent, year c.
Kindly share this homily with your friends and May God richly bless you.