Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year A
Theme: A call for repentance
By: Fr. Agustin Mateo, Pastor
St. Rose of Lima Parish, Gaithersburg, MD
Homily for Sunday December 8 2019
Last Sunday we heard a strong call to conversion from our sins. Jesus called us to repent and board the ark of Noah to save ourselves from the flood. This ark is the Church, the ark of mercy and love that God offers us. We had the opportunity to repent, confess our sins, and be forgiven last Tuesday evening with our liturgy of penance and reconciliation. This second Sunday of Advent, we hear again about conversion and the fruits of repentance. On the second and third Sunday of Advent, we have the figure of St. John the Baptist. He was the last and the greatest of the prophets at the time of Jesus. He was also the closest friend and relative of Jesus during his early childhood. Jesus and John the Baptist were both full of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God. This Sunday, we hear one of the most important proclamations of the kingdom of God by John. St. John the Baptist powerfully proclaims repentance from sins to the people who followed him. He even called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers” because of their hardness of heart to confess their sins. On the one hand, there were those who believed in his words, converted, and welcomed the Messiah, Jesus Christ, coming after him. On the other hand, there were those who mocked John and thought he was possessed. In a certain sense, John already anticipated the day of judgment because there was this division among his disciples between the innocent of heart and the wicked. The innocent of heart will bear fruits for eternal life, while the wicked will behead John and crucify Jesus. St. John speaks of these two kinds of people, saying that there are trees that bear fruits and trees that will be cut down at the root and thrown into the fire. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah speaks about the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Only those who welcome the Messiah with a contrite heart may bear these seven gifts, namely wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord. Brothers and sisters, the Church is the figure of John the Baptist who proclaims repentance to prepare the coming of the Lord Jesus. In the Church, we are these trees who may or may not bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is great to reflect upon our lives during this season to see what kind of disciples we are. We can be like the Pharisees that flee away from repentance, or we can accept that Jesus comes to save sinners, not to condemn us. We have our freedom and we can choose whether to confess our sins or to keep them. Let us not be afraid to shed some light on our souls so that we may make peace with God and our neighbor.