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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Reflection/Homily: Second (2nd) Sunday of Advent (December 7, 2014)

Reflection/Homily: Second (2nd) Sunday of Advent (December 7, 2014)
Theme: The Voice of John the Baptist 

A certain time in the lives of the Israelites, they offended God by indulging in all sorts of immorality and idolatry and as a result, the wrath of God fell on them. They were taken into captivity by the Babylonians where they suffered and wept terribly (cf. Ps. 137). At a time, God had mercy on them and sent the Prophet Isaiah to console them. It was at this time that the Deutro-Isaiah declared the prophetic words we heard in the first reading (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11). The reading also speaks of “a Voice” crying in the wilderness and calling on everyone to prepare the way for Yahweh. The Gospel reading (Mark 1:1-8) identifies this voice as that of John the Baptist who came to prepare the way for Jesus. John was only a pre-cursor to the messiah. He was always pointing to his arrival, making people conscious of and prepared for his arrival. He was that voice crying in the wilderness (cf. John 1:23) and the messenger spoken about in the first reading who will prepare the way for the Lord’s coming (cf. Is. 40:3).

In this season of advent, just as we anticipate the coming of Christ, God still presents us with another John the Baptist in various ways, to prepare us to receive Christ in our lives. The voice of John the Baptist is echoed in the readings that call us to repentance, the homilies we hear and the various forms of exhortations that we receive. In a very special way, this voice is also echoed in the ever gentle and still voices of our consciences, which cry out in the ‘wilderness of our hearts’. Here, we mean consciences formed with good moral principles. These hearts have been devastated by sin and left in a crooked form by our iniquities. Yet, the voice of John the Baptist in the depth of our consciences continues to cry out for us to repair this crooked road and to make all rough ways plain as we prepare the way for the Lord. Preparing the way for the Lord means taking away every obstacle that would prevent Christ from getting to us and from getting to others through us.  Some of these obstacles could include pride, gluttony, avarice, lust, anger, envy, jealousy, etc. We are the way through which Christ gets to the world and sin is the only obstacle that can block this way. Just as John was swimming against the current, doing what was uncommon, our consciences are also urging us to move against the current, against the evil that is in vogue. At this important moment, we can also prepare the way for the Lord by making a sacramental confession. Christ is coming to us and we can’t afford to welcome him with a filthy heart. Our consciences should prick us to repent of our sins and confess them as John pricked the people to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

Beloved friends, in making the road smooth while we await the coming of Christ, let us be sensitive to the dictates of our consciences because it is through them that God directs us. They tell us where there are pot-holes in our spiritual lives and how to fill them. How do you respond to the dictates of your conscience? Are you ready to stop the evil and do the good God demands of you? Why not make out time to listen and obey your conscience. It was not long after John’s cry that Jesus arrived. Perhaps he might visit you in a short while, that is why the second reading (2 Peter 3:8-14) reminds us not to allow ourselves be deceived by time because Christ might come at an unsuspected time. Since God is the originator of time he cannot be governed by time. Therefore, let us prepare now and not later. God loves you.

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