Second Sunday of Advent
Reading 1: Isaiah 11: 1-10
Responsorial Psalm: 72: 1-2; 7-8; 12-13; 17
“Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever”
Reading 2: Romans 15: 4-9
Gospel: Matthew 3: 1-12
Matthew 3:1 – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
Today, St. Matthew compels us to come to grips with the great Advent figure of John the Baptist. It’s really impossible to grasp the significance of Jesus without passing through the cleansing bath of John the Baptist. He provides a lens through which Jesus is properly interpreted.
John, Matthew tell us, made his appearance as a preacher in the desert of Judaea. Deserts are places of simplicity and poverty, places where distractions and attachments are eliminated – and hence where the voice of God can be heard.
Wealth, pleasure, power, and honour – and all of their avatars – are shouting at us, luring us, tempting us. But what is God saying? We have to go to the silent and deserted places in order to hear.
What is the first thing that the prophet says? “Reform your lives!”
These words cut to the heart of every one of us, precisely because we all know that our lives are not where they are supposed to be.
We have all fallen short of the glory of God; we have all fallen into patterns of self-absorption and addiction.
So let us hear John’s word today: “Repent!”
Pray for the patience and wisdom to do the right thing always.
With thanks to Holy Name of Mary Parish, Hunters Hill, who have supplied these daily Advent and Christmas 2019 reflections from their publication Daily Inspirations of Faith: A Season of Prayer – Advent to Epiphany 2019-20.