Second Sunday of Advent, B
Is 40:1-5, 9-11; Ps 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14; 2 Pt 3:8-14; Mk 1:1-8
(Scriptures included after homily)
Whenever we plan on taking a long road trip, the first thing we usually do, is to bring the car in for a tune up. We have the oil changed, the brakes and the fluids checked, and the windshield washer refilled. It’s our preparation for a safe journey.
And after that’s all done, we prepare ourselves. We pack up our bags, we get a good night’s sleep, we eat a healthy breakfast and we’re on our way.
The rest then, is in the hands of God, because we all know there could be a thousand other unexpected events that could keep us from reaching our destination. You know, like flat tires, or bad weather, traffic, detours, or accidents. We all know the story!
But what about our spiritual lives? What about the REALLY big trip, you know the one that goes from our birth to, . . . well, to wherever we want to end up? And I don’t think a lot of people intentionally want to end up in hell. But I DO think, that a lot of people, especially today, don’t even want to think about it.
So, if we just jumped in our car and headed for the state of California (from here in Missouri) there would probably be a much greater likelihood that we would never make it, than if, instead, we had our car checked first.
And in the same light, it would probably be a good idea to have our spiritual lives checked every once in a while too, if our true, Life-destination is eternity with God. And that, brothers and sisters, is exactly what Advent and Lent are all about.
It’s our spiritual tune-up time!
John the Baptist shouted out to the people to ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.’ And by that, He didn’t mean for them to get out of the way – to let Jesus through. He meant for them to clear, OUT of their lives, whatever it was that was blocking Jesus from getting IN.
You see, John’s baptism was the Water baptism of repentance. It was the people’s CHOICE to empty out their own “sin closets” and allow the waters of that Baptism to physically cleanse them. It was their preparation to make room in their hearts and in their lives to allow Jesus’ spiritual Baptism to fill-in the space with the Holy Spirit’s love, and strength, and guidance.
And John the Baptist led the way by his own example. He wasn’t there for the fame and the glory. Just the opposite. John humbled himself in the poverty of his clothes, and his food. And by saying that he was not worthy to untie the sandals of Jesus, John was placing himself even lower than a slave, who was forbidden from doing such a humiliating thing.
But what John DID do, with no reservation whatsoever, was to shout out and Proclaim the awesome Good News of the coming of the Lord, even at the risk of his own life; just as Isaiah and all the Prophets did; just as Peter and Paul, Mary and James, and all the Apostles did; and, just as all of us are called to do, as well.
Jesus said, “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations.” And that was not just meant for the Pope, and the Bishops, and the Priests, that was meant for all of us, too.
And how do we do that? Jesus told us precisely how. He said, we are to love our God and our neighbor with ALL our hearts, and ALL our minds, and ALL our strength.
And how do we do that, in the darkness of such a perverse world? By our Baptisms, we (or our parents) allowed the Holy Spirit’s residence into our lives.
Now we may have cramped out His space with our own selfishness, or our independence, or our prejudices, or our anger. But now it’s Advent, and we are reminded once again, that – every once in a while – we need a tune-up too.
If we can clear out the sin from our lives; even if it’s just, one little thing at a time; ALL that will be left, will be the Holy Spirit’s Love.
And that Love will shine from us SO brightly, that no flat tire, no cancelled airline flight, no blizzard and not even death itself, will be able to cast, even a shadow, on the Love of Jesus shining through us!
Jesus said, “Proclaim it on the rooftops.” Isaiah said, “Proclaim it from the mountaintops.” And, even if we may feel like we’re driving these lives through Death Valley, with NO fear, we will still proclaim the coming of our Lord, because He IS – living within us! And that LIFE is renewed HERE, and in every Eucharist we celebrate.
Scripture Readings for the Mass of 12-07-14
The Second Sunday of Advent, Cycle B
First Reading: 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. 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.
Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.
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.
Second Reading: 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.
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.”
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