2nd Sunday of Advent, A – December 4th 2022
Prepare the way of the Lord, straighten his paths! Every man will see God’s salvation!
Advent is a season of expectation, hope and commitment joined with repentance and conversion which leads to renewal of life and eternal salvation. The general norms of the liturgical year of the Church clearly indicates that the season of Advent has a twofold character: a time of preparation for Christmas, Jesus Christ’s first coming and a time of preparation for final judgment, at the second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time. Thus, Advent is a period for devout and joyful expectation.
All the readings of the liturgy of the word today invite us to enter into the season of advent with clarity, enthusiasm and commitment for our faith and the values that Gospel brings for us. The first reading from the Book of Isaiah presents the coming forth of a shoot from the stump of Jesse, clearly indicating to Jesus, at whose time all living beings will live in righteousness, peace and harmony and they will be blessed with everything good and positive, above all they will have a deep sense of reverence for God. In the second reading St. Paul is instructing the Romans as well as each one of us to imitate Christ and live in harmony, peace and love, that through our life we may glorify God.
The Gospel presents John the Baptist, who is the forerunner of Jesus. He invited everyone to repentance and conversion of heart, and prepared his listeners for the coming of Jesus. The word conversion is derived from the Greek word ‘metanoia’ which means ‘to turn’. Thus, conversion or repentance is a radical turning, from one’s own sinful ways to the holy ways of God, from selfishness to selfless service of others etc. It involves a deep and radical change in one’s thinking and behaviour.
No one is saved only by receiving the sacrament of baptism and it is not a guarantee for our salvation. It is not birth, race, religious affiliation, education, social or financial status, that assures our salvation. Salvation is appropriated by each individual by radical conversion in leaving behind one’s old sinful self and putting on a new self in Christ. A truly repentant and converted person will have the awareness that one is totally dependent on God and that dependence is lived in interdependence of all humanity in love, forgiveness and sharing. Salvation is offered for those who give themselves totally into God’s hands and make His will, their own.
One who has a casual attitude to the demands of faith, we may look on Advent and Christmas as merely memories of past historical events. But those who take it seriously will strive had to respond positively and creatively to the call of John the Baptist as well as Jesus to radical conversion and repentance. Thus, the time of advent is a time to remind ourselves of our constant need for metanoia.
God, however, does not enter our life with violence, but he knocks on the door asking to be welcomed. In the lives of those who opens to Him and receive Him, individual or community, today’s Gospel acclamation becomes realized: “Prepare the way of the Lord, straighten his paths! Every man will see God’s salvation!” Let’s keep our hope alive !