Gospel Reflection: Second Sunday of Advent
Malvern Minute

 

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

DECEMBER 4, 2016

Alleluia, alleluia.

Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:

all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Alleluia, alleluia.

 

A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew 3: 1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”   It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:

                     A voice of one crying out in the desert,

          Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.

 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.   At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.

 When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?   Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.   And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 

 Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.  I am not worthy to carry his sandals.  He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.   His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

 

REFLECTION:

In today’s Gospel reading from Saint Matthew, John the Baptist appears out of nowhere: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths!

The Baptist’s voice is a bold and uncompromising voice that continues to echo throughout the desert and barrenness of life for all times!  His cry is both haunting and compelling.  His voice is powerful because he himself is stripped of all worldly illusions.  His life is simple and unattached to the comforts of life which have the capacity to compromise and water down God’s voice, His Word.  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.

John the Baptist is the type that Pope Paul VI spoke about when he said that modern men do not listen to teachers; they listen only to witnesses.  John witnessed to God by his absolute dependence on God, and therefore, his voice was tangible, believable, and compelling.

The Baptist’s voice shatters the silence of our deserts of indifference to prayer, repentance and God.  His voice shatters the noise of our world which encourages addiction to stuff, comfort and pleasure.  John addresses us where we are, and demands in the name of God, our rootedness in God alone.  The ax of his voice calls for cutting away anything that separates us from God: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

Repentance is a significant life-change involving the Spirit, and is manifested by acts of mercy, forgiveness and self-sacrificing love for others: Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.

Repentance or conversion of heart is a daily activity.  Indeed, the kingdom of heaven is at hand!  If each day we read His sacred Word from the Gospels, that is, listen to His Voice, God will prune and fertilize our lives for richer life in Christ Jesus.  An open heart with ears ready to hear is all God needs to expand the Kingdom of God within us, and in turn, through us expand His kingdom in the world.

Advent is a call to self-examination: to either live a barren and desert-like life, or to pursue a purposeful life rooted in God’s mercy which extends His love to others.  Allow God to prune and fertilize your life by scheduling a time for the Sacrament of Penance this Advent!

___________________________

HOME CELEBRATION OF ADVENT – ADVENT WREATH

(Made of three purple and one rose colored candles, and a circle of green branches)

Lord our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ:

            He is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples, He is the wisdom that teaches      and guides us, He is the Savior of every nation.

Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this wreath.  May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.

May he come quickly and not delay.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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