Second Sunday Advent Homily Year B

Second sunday advent homily year B

Reading 1 IS 40:1-5, 9-11
Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial Psalm PS 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14

R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Reading 2 2 PT 3:8-14

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”
but he is patient with you,
not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

Alleluia LK 3:4, 6 R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
All flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Homily – Second Sunday of Advent – Year B

Ways and Waves

“Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight!” (Mk)

            People love creating ripples and making waves. But, Reid Stowe (53) and Alejandro Molina (32) have literally gone too far. Sailing out in a 21-metre schooner named Anne’ from New York Harbor in November 2005, they have embarked upon a 1000-day ‘around the world’ trip. They’ll sail around the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans and will return to term firma only sometime August 2008. “Everyone has dreamed of just sailing away and leaving everything and everyone behind,” said Stowe, “We’re actually doing it!” Could we just leave everything and everyone behind this Sunday of Advent and sail with Jesus?

            The readings of today tell us to prepare a way for the Lord: “Make a straight highway for our God” (Isaiah), God wants everyone “to change his ways” (Peter), and, “Prepare a way for the Lord” (Baptizer John). Although the message is the same, the contexts of the three reading differ.

            Today’s passage from Isaiah is the best known of his prophesies. It was popularized by the composer G.F. Handel who used it in the three opening pieces of his The Messiah. Obviously, the prophet of the Exile was not thinking about Jesus Christ as the Messiah; but, he had in view the restoration of Israel from the Babylonian Exile around 538 B.C. Cyrus of Persia had won preliminary victories and the power of Babylon was waning.

            The English text of The Messiah reads: “Get you up to a high mountain, O herald of good tidings to Zion; lift up your voice with strength, O herald of good tidings to Jerusalem.” The term good tiding in Hebrew gives us the noun Gospel in its New Testament sense. The good tiding here is the impending divine intervention in history bringing about the return from exile.

            The Exile, in Isaiah, is symbolically portrayed as the Second Exodus. Miracles of the First Exodus Will now be repeated: “Every valley shall be lifted up the rough places made a plain” (v. 4).Note that the Exodus and Exile become typological of future hope. God will repeatedly deliver people because God is true to God self.

            The second reading ascribed to Peter is perhaps a later addition that appeals to Peter’s authority. The community seems disappointed that the Last Day has not yet dawned. Thus, the explanation: “With the Lord a day can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.” God is the Master of all times and seasons. But, “The Day of the Lord will come like a thief!” The Christian community is reminded to watch and wait. With hope!

            ‘Today’s gospel marks “The beginning of the Good News about Jesus …” Mark begins with Isaiah’s prophecy and portrays John the Baptist as (a) preacher of repentance, and (b) precursor of the Messiah. Is John’s call to conversion really ‘good news’?

            A woman was dying of cancer. Her doctor said, Ma’am, your’ cancer has spread, and I’m afraid you’ll die soon. Is there any last wish you’d like me to fulfill?” “Yes,” cried the woman weakly, “Can you take me to another doctor?” It’s difficult to accept painful truths like I’m sick, I’m dying, or I’m a sinner. But, John’s accusing finger diagnoses my spiritual cancers, and prescribes their cure: repentance.

            “All Judea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him.” Am I one that makes my way to the Baptist? “Prepare away,” says john, “Make paths straight!” The Greek word for repentance, metanoia, etymologically means ‘reverse mind’. John calls me to reverse my mad rush against God and surf safely on the waves of Love.

            The world’s ways are enticing; its waves promise ‘new highs” of narcotics, narcissism, sex, success, popularity and possessions. Indeed, John the Baptist’s “cry in the wilderness” is a far cry from ’what lndo-American Deepak Chopra and other New Agegurus and TV-evangelists promise of ‘instant salvation’. Will I prepare my way’ to meet The Way?

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