HOMILY FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A.
THEME: REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS FAST APPOACHING!
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
(ISAIAH 11:1-10; ROMANS 15:4-9; MATTHEW 3:1-12)
Last Sunday Isaiah inaugurated this period with the imagery of sweet things that will be performed on the mountain, where we shall all be elevated. it is good to note here that the greatest significance of mountain in the scripture is a place where God dwells. We see that in the encounters of Moses and Elijah on the mountain of Horeb. In other words, the ultimate message of the hope in Advent is that we shall be with God in the high place or mountain where everything would be in perfect place.
The readings of this Sunday come with more concrete terms to express this hope of man in three great voices: one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament and the last of the Old and New Testament. The first voice is Isaiah who hopes that one day a new shoot of life will sprout from the old stump of Israel’s kingdom. He hoped for a king like David who will bring justice and peace especially to those who are poor and afflicted. Isaiah uses poetical images of animals and people, the wolf and lamb, the calf and the lion, and poisonous snakes and little children to describe the unimaginable tranquility the coming of Christ will bring.
St. Paul on his own, our second voice highlights that harmony and peace that Christ will bring in breaking all barriers and divisions among men. In summing up his message to the Romans, a fragmented community, he reminds us that Christ’s work of salvation is to win all back to God both Jews and Gentiles, circumcised and uncircumcised. This same broad generosity of Christ in giving Himself up for us he calls upon his hearers and us to imitate.
The last but not the least voice, the mediating voice between the Old and New Testament, the second Elijah in his paraphernalia and domicile, echoes this prophesy of hope and calls for readiness in practical terms. The concept repentance in John’s preaching and baptism is a change of behavior, a change of direction. John is calling on them (us) to change their ways, to change their scale of values, their whole direction of life. In his words “produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance”. And this production of fruits is what I call practical repentance. James in his letter says,” In the same way faith, if good deeds do not go with it, it is quite dead”. (James 2:17) And in the words of Christ “it is not anyone who says to me, “Lord Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my father in heaven”. (Matthew 7:21).
We see Jesus as the Messiah, the loving savior, but John was not yet directly proclaiming Jesus. He was proclaiming the threatening and imminent arrival of the sovereignty of God when rotten trees would be cut down and evil swept away to be burnt in unquenchable fire. If we are to be open to the arrival of the Kingship and Messianic role of God in Christ, we must look at our scale of values especially our self-centered attitude. We must ask ourselves; Am I the only person who matters to me?
Altruism is the key to God’s kingdom and ultimate generosity portrayed by Christ.
God bless you!
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