2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C – Homily

2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C
Baruch 5:1-9
Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3)
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Luke 3:1-6
December 5, 2021

At the time of the event in today’s gospel, Jesus has already been born.  Soon He will begin his public ministry.  However, before He does, John the Baptist is sent to “prepare the way of the Lord.

This is a pivotal moment in history.  So, this gospel passage sets the stage.  While the year of our calendar today is set by the year of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, in those days history was dated by the ruler’s reign.

This is why the passage begins, “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar…”  We are told Pontius Pilate and Herod, who will play important roles later, are the governor and tetrarch.  This is not simply boring history.  It provides the time for these events. 

Since the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus to follow is important to the life of God’s people, we are also told these events happened “during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,” dating them according to the religious leaders of the time.

We are also told where John the Baptist ministered.  It was at the Jordan River.  This is important because the Jordan River is where the Israelites entered the Promised Land at the end of the Exodus.

John the Baptism was “a voice of one crying out in desert.”  We hear many different voices today.  Which voice do we choose to listen to?  In his encyclical Fratelli Tutti (45), Pope Francis speaks of how with so many sources of information out there today, we look for the one that agrees with us.

Do you look for the voice “to follow” that agrees with you so you can do what you want?  Or do you look for the voice that leads you to God?

John the Baptist was a voice for God.  He told people, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.  Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low.

God was about to change everything.  Jesus was about to begin his public ministry of preaching and healing leading to his Crucifixion and Resurrection.  John called people to get ready.

Are you ready for the Second Coming of Jesus?

Are you ready for God to change you?

Things in the world are not good.  There’s the pandemic.  There is terrorism.  There is immorality.  This week there was another school shooting. 

The bad news in the world today can leave us in “mourning and misery.” 

There are people who fear the Second Coming.  I don’t fear the Second Coming.  I fear what is going on in the world.  In the Second Coming God is going to remove our robes “of mourning and misery” and put on us “the splendor of glory from God forever.

Now, we may not be ready for the Second Coming.  Do not fear.  “You will be named by God forever.”  God loves you.  God is ready to forgive.  You just have to ask.  This is what he gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation for.

The world had changed.  Our society was based on Christian values.  We have by led away from God by the enemy to sin.  Do not fear for God will bring his people back to him.  God will make things straight, making low the mountains and filling in the depths and gorges.

God did a great thing for us in sending Jesus his Son to die for us.  Knowing God’s love, knowing Jesus’ love fills us with joy.  It is our hope.

Just as God brought back the captives from the Babylonian Exile, God sets us free from our sins.  God has a plan.  Are we listening to his voice?

Here, I want to echo Paul’s words to the Philippians.  Please know that, as Paul prayed for the Philippians, “I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you.”  I don’t know all your individual needs.  What I do know is that we all need God.  I pray that God helps you in all your needs.

I also echo Paul’s words of “your partnership for the gospel.”  As a priest, I have a very particular role in sharing the gospel.  Our deacons have their role.  Our staff have their role.  So do you! 

God works through each one of us.  As Paul says, “I am confident of this that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it.

I pray “that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.

Are you ready to let God change you?  Are you ready to let God work through you?

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