From the Pastor's Desk
Second Sunday of Advent
Homecoming is the central theme of the Scripture readings for the Second Sunday of Advent.
All three readings focus on the absolute necessity of our getting ready for Christ’s “Homecoming” into our hearts and lives by true repentance, reparation, prayer and the renewal of our lives. They also remind us that the past coming of Jesus 2000 years ago, the present daily coming of Jesus into our lives through the Eucharistic celebration, through the Scriptures and through the praying community, and his future coming (the Second Coming) are actually the fulfillment of God’s saving plan for us all, from all eternity.
The first reading, taken from the prophet Isaiah, tells us about the Babylonian exiles coming home to their native country, Judah, and their holy city, Jerusalem. Isaiah assures his people that the Lord will lead them in a grand procession to their homeland and take care of them as a shepherd cares for his sheep.
The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 85) describes how shalom or perfect peace is coming home with the Lord’s coming.
The second reading, taken from the second letter of St. Peter, invites us to get ready to go home to Heaven with Jesus at his Second Coming. Peter tells those who doubt the Second Coming of Jesus that God’s way of counting time is different from ours and that God has His own reasons for delaying the Second Coming of Christ.
The Gospel tells us through John the Baptist how we should prepare to receive Jesus our Savior’s “coming home” into our lives during the Advent season by repentance and the renewal of life. John preached that the appropriate behavior for those preparing "the way of the Lord" was to be baptized “as they confessed their sins." He wanted the Jews to prepare their lives for the Messiah by filling in the valleys of prejudice, leveling the mountains of pride and straightening out their crooked paths of injustice and immorality. John recommended a baptism of repentance in the river Jordan to the Jews who were familiar with ritual and symbolic washings. The most amazing thing about John's baptism was that, as a Jew, he was asking fellow-Jews to submit to the baptism of repentance which only a Gentile was obliged to undergo.
1) We need to prepare for the rebirth of Jesus: We are invited by the Church to prepare for Christmas by repenting of our sins and renewing our lives so that Jesus may be reborn in us. Let us ask with Alexander Pope the challenging question, “What do I profit, if Jesus is born in thousands of cribs all over the world unless he is born in my heart and in my life?”
2) We need to allow Jesus to be reborn in our lives. People around us should recognize Jesus’ rebirth in our lives by our sharing love, unconditional forgiveness, compassionate and merciful heart and spirit of humble and committed service.
3) Let us accept the challenge of John the Baptist to turn this Advent season into a real spiritual “homecoming” by making the necessary preparations for the fresh arrival of our Lord and Savior Jesus into our hearts and lives.
A school principal called the house of one of his teachers to find out why he was not at school. He was greeted by a small child who whispered: "Hello?" in his daddy’s cell phone. "Is your This Photo by Unknown Author is Daddy at home?" asked the principal. "Yes" answered the whispering child. "May I talk to him?" the principal asked. "No," replied the small voice. "Is your Mommy there?" the principal asked. "Yes," came the answer. "May I talk with her?" Again, the small voice whispered, "No." "All right," said the principal, "Is there anyone besides you?" "Yes," whispered the child, "A policeman." "A policeman? Now may I speak with the policeman?" "No, he is busy," whispered the child. "Busy with what?" asked the principal. "Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the fireman," came the child's answer. "The fireman? Has there been a fire in the house or something?" asked the principal. "No," whispered the child. "Then what are the policeman and the fireman doing there?" Still whispering, the young voice replied with a soft giggle, "They are looking for me." It would be pretty hard for the 'rescuers' to find the child as long as the child keeps hiding from them. -In Today’s Gospel we see John the Baptist calling out to the people of Judea to come out into the open space and let God find them. You can liken John the Baptist’s call to the fireman calling to the 'lost' child. The child has to leave his hiding place and come out into the open for the policeman to find him.