HOMILY FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A.
THEME: A CALL TO REPENTANCE
BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula
(Isaiah 11:1-10, Romans 15:4-9, Matthew 3:1-12)
Repentance is possible for those who accept their sinfulness and make efforts to receive healing. Sin destroys our relationship with God. Whenever we make it feel at home in our hearts, we widen the gap between ourselves and God. Today, on this second Sunday of Advent, we are challenged not to be and not to feel comfortable with our weaknesses. John the Baptist is crying in the wilderness, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is a call to metanoia (a change of heart). The celebration of the Christmas event is beautiful and we are all looking forward to it, but we have to prepare for it. John the Baptist challenges us to prepare for he who is coming. He is so great that not even he (John) can undo the straps on his sandals. Thus, he calls us to repentance, to change our ways. To repent is to gather the courage to stand before ourselves and admit that we have sinned.
John calls the Pharisees and Sadducees, “You brood of vipers!” because of their hypocrisy. How will metanoia be possible for them if they still count themselves among the righteous? With this attitude, even the baptism of repentance that they seek from John will just be cosmetic. It is not genuine. Hence, he lashes out at them. What is required of those who seek Christ in their lives is a complete and sincere change of heart. We have to want only Christ. If we seek other things as well, even when we remain in the church, we are not different from the Pharisees and Sadducees. Repentance is what makes Christmas meaningful. Without it, Christmas becomes only a social event where family and friends gather to eat and drink and share gifts. Christmas is deeper than this. It is about Christ.
The prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading about the shoot of Jesse is our prophecy. Isaiah tells us that the shoot of Jesse shall judge the poor with righteousness and shall decide with equity for the meek. The presence of this shoot shall be the presence of peace among the people. He says, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb.” At the heart of this prophecy is the promise of the messiah whose presence shall elevate the weak and the poor with the Spirit of God and make joy a possible reality for them. It is a message of hope for the afflicted. The weak and the poor are those who are aware of their afflictions and express their dependence on God for healing and strength. St. Paul in the second reading gives us the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy. He says, “…Christ became a servant to the circumcised (believers) to show God’s faithfulness … so that Gentiles (unbelievers) might glorify God for his mercy.” Indeed, his presence is of value to those who believe. Through the poor and the weak in whom Jesus has manifested God’s power of mercy, the Gentiles (unbelievers) also come to appreciate the value of faith. As we move towards Christmas, we have to count ourselves among the weak, poor and sinful so that we may receive spiritual healing. If we think we have no sin, then the message of repentance is not meant for us, and certainly, even the incarnation may not even be important to us. Repentance implies that we admit that we are weak and so we need God’s mercy for us to prepare ourselves adequately for the birth of Christ in our lives.
ENJOY YOUR LITURGY
Fr. Arthur Ntembula
FOR MORE HOMILIES CLICK >>>>