Theme: ADVENT (COMING): THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF TIME
- Baruch 5:1-9;
- Psalm 125 (126). R/ v. 3;
- Philippians 1:3-6. 8-11
- Luke 3:1-6
- Today is the 2nd Sunday of Advent; Liturgical Year C. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time! “Advent is thus a period for devout and joyful expectation”! (Liturgical Year, 39, Roman Missal)
The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by making his paths straight, by leveling the mountains, by filling up the valleys, and by making the rough roads smooth, that is, by radically changing our lifestyles for the better! (NJBC)
The gospel also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. Repentance is turning away from sin, from the world; and turning to God, to the God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!
One of the best ways of “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” is to go to “confession”, that is, to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance! There will be Advent/Christmas confessions in our parish on the 13th and 14th of December (Thursday and Friday)!
Most importantly, the gospel tells us that when Jesus Christ comes he will bring us salvation! In his First Coming he began his work of salvation; in his Second Coming he will complete, fulfill, perfect and realize fully his work of salvation! (See the note on Mt 3:2; CSB)
- The second reading also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The second reading tells us to increase our love for one another and to increase our knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is best!
In fact that is the prayer of St. Paul for the Philippians:
“My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognize what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.” (Ph 1:9-11; SM)
In this “Year of Faith” let us read, study, share and pray the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” so that we may increase in faith, knowledge and discernment, and so that we will know what is best!
- The first reading tells us about the return from exile from Babylon. It is the second exodus, the new exodus, more important than the first exodus! More importantly, it tells us about the exodus from sin and death to love and life in Jesus Christ the New Moses!
Most importantly it tells us about the final exodus from earth to heaven in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Again, in his First Coming, Jesus Christ began his work of salvation; in his Second Coming he will complete and perfect his work of salvation!
Thus we read in the first reading:
“Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east!” (Ba 5:5; SM)
The East, the direction from which the sun rises is a symbol of salvation! (Fuller; NJBC) That is why our churches face the east! And that is why Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December, originally the feast of the pagan sun god!
- The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the return from exile from Babylon.
Thus the first and the second stanzas:
“When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage, it seemed like a dream. Then was our mouths filled with laughter, on our lips there were songs. The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels the Lord worked for them!’ What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126): 1-3; SM)
And thus the response which is taken from the second stanza:
“What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126): 3; SM)
“The Lord had done great things for us; Oh, how happy we were!” (CSB)
- Again, Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time!
We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”, that is, by going to confession; by “making his paths straight”, that is, by changing our lifestyles radically for the better! (Gospel)
We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by increasing our love for one another and by increasing our knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is best! (Second reading) We can increase our faith, knowledge and discernment by reading, studying, sharing and praying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, especially in this Year of Faith (11th October 2012 to 24th November 2013)!
We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by prayer, by reading the Bible and the Sunday Mass readings, by becoming Santa Claus (Dutch, Saint Nicholas) for the poor, especially for the poor children, by going Christmas caroling and by proclaiming the good news of Christmas, by attending prayer meetings, bible-sharing, BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, etc. A happy and joyful Advent to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.