2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14 (8)
2 Peter 3:8-14
December 6, 2020
Scholars divide the Book of the Prophet Isaiah into three sections. Today’s reading from chapter 40 begins the second section. God “speaks tenderly” to the people that their time of Exile is over. This brings comfort to the people to know that their service, meaning punishment for their guilt is over.
They can return to Israel. As they prepare to set out on their way, they are called to “prepare the way of the LORD!” and to “make straight.” Literally, this speaks of their physical journey back to Jerusalem. Spiritually it calls the (and us) to prepare a place in our hearts for the Lord. Then the Lord will grant us his salvation.
Christmas is coming. People will spend much time preparing food, decorating, and shopping for Christmas. How much time will you spend on these things?
How much time will you send preparing your hearts for the Lord?
The earthly things of Christmas are important but, as we prayed in our opening prayer, “may no earthly things hinder those who set out tin haste to meet your Son.”
Our gospel today describes a time just before Jesus begins his public ministry. Just as Isaiah prepared the Jews for their return to Jerusalem, so is John the Baptist sent to “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths.”
John the Baptist calls the people to “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” To make way for the Lord, we need to be cleaned of our sins.
John the Baptist baptized people in the Jordan River. This river had special symbolism because it was the river that the people crossed to enter the promised land after spending forty years in the desert.
John was a simple man, living in the desert, feeding on locusts and wild honey, and “clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.” The dress was that of a prophet, totally centered on the Lord.
John was a humble man, acknowledging, “One mightier than I is coming after me.” He even tells the people that the Baptism of Jesus will be something greater. John’s baptism was only for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus’ Baptism brings forgiveness. It also brings the Holy Spirit to help us follow the Lord. It makes us adopted children of God.
Soon we will celebrate Christmas. Are you ready for the celebration of Jesus’ first coming?
Are you ready for Jesus’ Second Coming, “conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God”?
We might feel too busy right now to give time to the Lord. We might feel that since 2,000 years have gone by and Jesus hasn’t come yet so we have plenty of time.
How do you feel when you think somebody puts you at the bottom of their list?
The people Peter wrote to in the second reading expected the Second Coming to happen at any moment. So much so, that they feel that the Lord has been delayed in fulfilling his promise.
The Lord never gave a specific time of when He would come again. As to the question if the Lord is delayed, Peter speaks of how the Lord is patient with us, “not wishing that any should perish.”
The Lord wants to save us. He patiently gives us time. We should be grateful for this but we should not take advantage of his patience but delaying ourselves in preparing the way of the Lord.
After all, how do you feel when someone takes advantage of your generosity?
Jesus is not generous with his patience so that we can go out and have a good time. Jesus is generous with his patience and forgiveness because he loves us.
Lord, show us your kindness and “teach us to judge wisely the things of earth and hold firm to things of Heaven” (Prayer after Communion).