Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year A
Theme: The Coming of the Lord
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday December 8 2019
That Christ will come again in glory is sure! Our duty is to always make ourselves ready to receive Him; and also, to the best of our ability as against the limitations of our existence, to help our brothers and sisters in this same project. In John the Baptist, we find a model in this regard, and he continues to speak to us up till this moment. Just like John the Baptist, may the focus of the entirety of our existence be the coming Lord, so that we may gain and live in the eternity of His glory; Amen.
One of the striking biblical personalities of the Advent Season is John the Baptist, the Forerunner of our Lord. John the Baptist was the cousin of our Lord Jesus Christ and the first person after Mary and Joseph to have a glimpse of the identity of Jesus Christ even while still in the womb he leapt for joy in that special encounter between him and his cousin Jesus (Luke 1:41). Beyond conscientising and preparing the people to meet the Messiah, the centre of the ministry of John the Baptist was to identify the Messiah and to lead people to Him. This was the main message of John the Baptist in the pericope of the Gospel we read today at mass (Mt 3:1-12); “I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to carry his sandals.” John the Baptist was a man who knew his background, who understood himself and his mission and was very clear about these. He never minced words in the exercise of this ministry and this led him to bear much fruit even to the point of losing his life in defence of the truth. All of his life bore witness to Christ, and even centuries after his martyrdom, he continues to speak to us in varied but clear ways on Who Christ is and what should be our proper attitude towards Him. Christ remains the model for every moment of history; He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The expectation of His appearance has always being the concern of all men and women who love God throughout the History of Salvation; for only in Him “all men and women shall see the salvation of God” (Lk 3:6). All of the oracles and prophesies of old point to this truth which John the Baptist direct us to.
In the First Reading (Is 11:1-10), we heard of the prophecy of Isaiah about this same Man of the moment; “A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse, a scion thrusts from his roots.” This prophecy spoke of the many virtues and qualities personified in expected One and of the serenity and peace associated with His appearance and the fact that “the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples.” In the Shoot that sprang from the root of Jesse, in Jesus Christ the Emmanuel, we see that indispensable Signal which God has forever instituted for the salvation of all. Certainly, “in His days, justice shall flourish, and peace till the moon fails.” In justice and mercy, in love and truth, we enter into His peace. This is the hope of all God’s faithful children. In the words of the Second Reading (Romans 15:4-9), “everything that was written long ago in the scriptures was meant to teach us something about hope from the examples scripture gives of how people who did not give up were helped by God.” Filled with this hope, and as we earnestly expect His coming again in glory, we are invited to imbibe the example of John the Baptist; the attitude of making way for the Lord. This attitude is on two fronts as were manifested in John the Baptist; personal and towards others. On the personal note, John the Baptist was a man of prayer, mortification and penance. These three form part of the strongest weapons against the Antichrist. We read that “this man John wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.” The Faith Tradition has always drawn a strong connection between prayer, mortification and penance and abstinence from sin. A sin free man or woman is most fit to welcome the Lord! Beyond the fast approaching Feast of Christmas, as we keep the daily struggle of preparing for the Second Advent of Christ, the ambition to daily grow less-contaminated by sin must be at the forefront. An ambition sustained by a stable friendship with the Holy Spirit with which the Coming One never fails to baptise us with. With respect to his attitude towards others, John the Baptist not only prepared others for Christ but also identified Christ for them. A true follower must have the discernment and spiritual strength to prepare others for Christ and to identity Christ for them and together with them to go to meet Him. Beyond words of preaching, this is most concretely and most fruitfully done by our way of life, to show that indissoluble link between _Lex credendi_ (the rule of faith), _Lex orandi_ (the rule of prayer) and _lex Vivendi_ (the rule of life); the link kept alive and ever fascinating by the same Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
May the light of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, dispel every form of darkness on our path and enlighten us to be faithful and fruitful heralds of the coming Lord, and may His peace reign in our hearts; Amen. Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE