HOMILY: 2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR B
By: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Responsorial: Psalm 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:1-8
On this second Sunday of advent, our liturgy invites us to take hold of the Lord’s coming as an opportunity to stir up our desire for God, to stir up our hope in the Lord, to deepen our awareness of His love for us. The first reading from the prophet Isaiah makes us to understand that it is God Himself who wants to give us comfort, but He can only do so insofar as our hearts are open and waiting for Him. It is God who invites us to be patient and St. Peter reminds us: “Beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.”
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St Peter further reminds us that as we await the Lord, whether he comes early or not, we must not relapse into sin or take advantage of his delay to do evil. In this Reading, St. Peter shows us that, while we prepare the way of the Lord, three things are absolutely necessary to know and understand: First, the Lord is not slow about his promise of coming; He is patient with us, not wanting any to perish, but to come to repentance. Second, ‘the Day of the Lord’ will come like a thief with the heavens set ablaze and dissolved, the elements melted with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it dissolved and new heavens a new earth will be created in which righteousness dwells. Third, leading lives of holiness as a way of hastening the coming of the Lord is an absolute necessity – since all things are going to be dissolved in this way. For this, you and I are expected to be found at peace with God, ourselves, and everyone. And God requires a response.
John the Baptist in the gospel passage presents us with what our response to God’s invitation should be. We have to fill in the valleys that come from a shallow prayer life and a minimalistic way of living our faith. We have to straighten out whatever crooked paths we’ve been walking: If we’ve been involved in some secret sins or in a sinful relationship, the Lord calls us through the challenging words of John the Baptist to end it; if we’ve been involved in some dishonest practices at work or at home, we’re called to straighten them out and do restitution; if we’ve been harbouring grudges or hatred, or failing to reconcile with others, now’s the time to clear away all the debris; and if we’ve been pushing God off the side of the road, if we’ve been saying to Him that we don’t really have the time for Him, now’s the time to get our priorities straight.
May our lives become so focused on God and His ways in our lives that we become like John the Baptist: our lives only giving witness to the love and mercy of God and drawing others to that love and mercy.
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