Second Sunday in Advent
Lectionary: 6 (NAB Translation)
Welcome to the Sunday Says podcast for December 6, 2015, the second Sunday of Advent. Thank you for joining us as we break open the Word of God to prepare our hearts and minds for this Sunday’s Mass. This week’s readings remind us that God has done great things for us in the past and will do great things in the future if we will let Him. We need not focus on the past but in repentance and hope look to the future where he will completely restore us. As always we are using the Jerusalem translation for copyright purpose.
Our first reading is from the book of Baruch in the Old Testament. Baruch served as a scribe to the Prophet Jeremiah and in this passage he provides encouragement to the Israelites who were tempted to despair. Because of their sins, God had allowed them to be taken into captivity by the Babylonian Empire. However, like the New Testament story of the Prodigal Son, the Father will allow them to return home and will joyfully welcome them by removing obstacles. He says, “Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort, now God brings them back to you like royal princes carried back in glory.” This is the truly the message of the Gospel which is always a message of restoration.
What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.
This week’s second reading is from Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
One of the prominent features of this letter is the Apostle’s joy over the conversion of the Philippians as well as their generosity of heart which was a fruit of their conversion. This passage contains the remarkable gift of hope that is so central to the Gospel when it says “I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes.” In other words, if we let Him, God will finish what He started and through Christ will continue the restoration process he began in us at our baptism or conversion. Paul’s prayer that our love for each other may increase and that we improve in knowledge and perception is to prepare us for the coming “Day of Christ.” Advent is the liturgical season that the Church gives us to focus our hearts on the coming “Day of Christ,” and to put into practice the charity that is a reflection of our own conversion.
In this week’s Gospel from St Luke we see very clearly that John the Baptist came at a particular point in history to prepare the world for the message of the Messiah. Luke concretely names who the political and religious rulers were at the time in order to make clear the historical reality of the events that were to take place. John the Baptist, as the link between the Old and New Testaments has become the “voice in the wilderness,” ushering in a new era and the corresponding fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. The promise of Advent is that Christ is coming to redeem the world and to restore all things in glory to Himself. The challenge of Advent is to be alert and prepared, to repent of our sins, to ask the Lord to increase our faith and thus remove all barriers to the divine grace that Christ is bringing. In this way the mountains are leveled and the Lord’s path is made straight and all mankind may see the salvation of God.
Gospel Meditation from Bishop Vásquez
Today, the Lord invites us to “repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Level and straighten the road to the Lord. Salvation is God’s work and is freely offered. Repentance, turning away from what separates us from God, is our work for which God supplies the grace. Our lives, like the liturgy, are words connected with actions. We must say “Yes” to God in word and action. What are the mountains, valleys and obstacles that prevent us from an encounter with the Lord?