Saturday, December 15, 2018

2nd Sunday of Advent: Returning Home

DECEMBER 9, 2018

Jesus, I trust in you!
Many of us think that Advent is simply a preparation for Christmas. However, last Sunday’s gospel reading tells us that Advent means something more. It points us towards the 2nd coming of Christ at the end of time.

St John the Baptist
Today, St. John the Baptist enters the picture. He will be our Advent guide. We often associate him with Christmas because he is the precursor of the Lord. He goes before the Lord to prepare his way. He is shown to fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah: “A voice crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths…and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” However, we should pay attention to the end of the reading: “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” When did it happen that all people saw the salvation of God? Was it when Jesus was born? Definitely not! When the Lord was born, only shepherds and magi saw and visited him. On that blessed night of the Lord’s birth, Bethlehem was fast asleep, unaware that God was born among them. In fact, later on, Jesus would weep over the ancient city of Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed because she did not recognize the time of her visitation. In fact, even until today, not everybody can see the Lord. Only those who have faith in him can see him.

And so, when will all flesh see the salvation of God? It will be at the end of the world. Remember last Sunday’s gospel reading? Jesus said: “And then they (all nations) will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” All people, whether they are believers or not, will  see Christ coming back in glory. That is why, the Lord told us to stand erect with heads held up high because we know that our redemption is at hand. The Prophet said: “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

And no one can escape the Lord’s inevitable coming. “That day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.” The Lord’s coming is something we can neither prevent nor avoid. And so, we might as well prepare for it. How can we prepare for the Lord’s coming? St. John the Baptist tells us the way: “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths.” John preached a baptism of repentance. Our preparation for the Lord’s coming should be by way of repentance. Our crooked ways must be made straight. We must make up for our shortcomings as valleys are to be filled. We must temper our excesses as mountains are to be made low. In society, we must also strive to bring about social justice. Many live in want because a few live in plenty. Preparing for Christ’s coming also means that the rich must temper their opulence so that by charity, those who are in want may have their necessities satisfied.

As Isaiah said in his prophecy: “Jerusalem, look and see your children gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One,” we realize that listening to the Word of God leads us to this gathering of the Church. “Led away on foot by their enemies they left you: but God will bring them back to you.” Sin led us away from the Church and now, God brings us back to be reconciled with him and with the Church. Incidentally, the President tells us not to go to the Church and simply stay home. In doing so, he has done the work of the enemy who led the children of Jerusalem to leave her. Repentance means coming home to God. Repentance means coming home to the Church. During Advent, there is a better place to go than shopping malls. That place is the confession box. Return home to God. Return home to the Church.

As we joyfully await the glorious coming of Christ, we light today the candle of peace. This peace can only be received if we are reconciled to the Lord and to his Church. St. Paul said: “This is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” (Narito ang aking idinadalangin: na ang inyong pag-ibig ay yumaman ng yumaman sa ganap na kaalaman at sa lahat ng pagkukuro. Makilala sana ninyo kung ano ang lalong mabuti at maging malinis kayo at walang pagkukulang hanggang araw ni Kristo, na puspos ng bunga ng kabanalan na nakakamit sa pamamagitan ni Jesukristo, sa ikaluluwalhati at ikararangal ng Diyos.)

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!   

No comments:

Post a Comment