Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year A
Theme: The voice cries out again; bear fruit that befits repentance.
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Sunday December 8 2019
READINGS: Isaiah 11: 1-10, Ps. 72, Romans 15: 4-9, Matthew 3: 1-12
Normally every second Sunday of Advent, the Prophet John the precursor cries from the wilderness with a powerful message to all peoples. He has done it again today. He chooses to speak from the wilderness rather than from the community of humans. Jesus came eating and drinking with people and he was called a glutton but John chose to distance himself from the people to make deep impression so that he would not be seen as one like them and as one of those messages they have been hearing. He goes to shout from the wilderness so as to attract attention and dramatically present his message in a manner that would raise questions in the minds of the people; this will make them take his message very seriously. Why would a normal human being leave the community of humans to live in the wilderness where there is drought and no life? Why would he be speaking from there that the people would be wondering what is wrong with him or with themselves? Symbolically interpreted, the wilderness would become that aspect of the human life that is dry and seemingly having no life. It lacks vegetation and is uninhabited and not desired by people to live in. It has nothing good to produce to the betterment of the life of the people. So in our context, the wilderness would be that aspect of our lives that are dead. It is that life of ours that produces nothing good for us. It is our life that is hard and uninhabited spiritually. It is not a place that anybody would desire to live in because it repels goodness. This is the place in our souls that the prophet decided to speak from and about so that he would put us to thought and consciousness. He speaks from there to make us know where there is problem and where our help cannot come from but death and destruction should we remain there.
Beloved, the readings point out to what would happen when the day of the Lord comes. For us who live in this time of post resurrection of Christ, the day of the Lord would be the day of final judgment or his second coming. Isaiah speaks of the qualities of Christ. He is one with the fear of the Lord God because the spirit of the Lord God is upon him. He has wisdom and understanding; he has knowledge and judges with righteousness and not like people who judge with hearsay or with what the ordinary eyes have seen. He judges with justice and equity and with faithfulness he does his work. These qualities help him to achieve the will of the Father which is peace and understanding among creatures. This reign of peace is shown by the dramatization of how enemy-animals would start living together in peace. The lion and the sheep, the foul and the hawk, the cats and dogs, the child and the asp and cobra play and the child leads them in peace. None shall hurt each other but absolute divine and godly peace which Christ came to inaugurate would reign supreme.
The prophet cries out to us to embrace peace that Christ gives. This is his call for repentance. We are to eschew violence and hatred and heal old wounds. We are to embrace dialogue and forgiveness and apply meekness of heart. We shall learn to accommodate the weakness of others and see their strength and not their weakness. This is the call for repentance and coming out of the wilderness of our lives to the life of flowing water of life and peace. This is the way to prepare the way for the Lord and making straight his paths. The garments of John the Baptist show penitence and even his meals of locust and honey.
We are to be penitent in order to show repentance. We must not delay or remain recalcitrant as to be cautioned like John did to the Pharisees and Sadducees who are called brood of vipers. We are called to bear the fruit that befits repentance and never presume that God is merciful and he is our Father. Remember that his winnowing fork is in his hands to blow away the chaff that will face the fate of unquenchable fire. Make haste now and repent before it becomes too late.
We pray that we may cherish peace and reconciliation and show mercy to one another. We ask for the grace to see the need for repentance and to hear the warning of the prophet in the wilderness of our lives and then become penitent for our salvation, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf