Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year A
Theme: CHANGE YOUR WAYS AND WELCOME CHRIST.
By: Fr JB Mbbah-Offor
Homily for Sunday December 8 2019
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT (A)
Is 11:1-10, Rom 15:4-9, Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist was a great prophetic figure who introduced the story of Jesus in the Gospels of the Bible. He was a Jewish prophet of priestly origin who preached the imminence of God’s final judgement and baptized those who repented in self-preparation for it; he is revered as the forerunner of Jesus Christ. For four hundred years there was no voice of prophecy in Israel until he came to break this silence with the announcement of the arrival of the much awaited Messiah which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He made the people realized that he was not the Christ and that he has been sent to prepare the way for Christ and he further said: “Christ must increase and I must decrease” (Jn 3:30).
The Gospel of today taken from Matthew 3:1-12, talks about John the Baptist in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘you brood of vipers! Bear fruit worthy of repentance. He was fearless, he did not seek for favour from anybody and he dearly offered his life for the truth. He died while defending the truth at the hands of Herod and Herodias.
John the Baptist started his ministry in the wilderness, perhaps in part to escape the distractions of the city. The wilderness means a desert or an uninhabited bush. John must have chosen to live and preach in the wilderness because of the spiritual significance of the wilderness. Hosea spoke of the wilderness as the place where God speaks tenderly to his people and brings them hope (Hosea 2:14-15). A wilderness has the following qualities:
i) A place of transformation. Lives are transformed in the desert. The transformation we seek as we prepare for Christmas is the conversion of our hearts.
ii) A place of test. Wilderness is a place where people experience trials. Christmas is a period of activities and of many distractions that will put our faith to the test.
III) A place of humiliation. It is a place which humbles us and qualifies us for the kingdom of God.
iv) A place of prayer: it’s a place of prayer, meditation and a place to encounter God. God spoke to Moses in the desert of Sinai (numbers 1:1; 9:1).
John the Baptist preached repentance in the wilderness, telling the people to stop evil and learn to do good. When John appeals for repentance, therefore, he is inviting his hearers to make a radical break with their sinful past and to turn afresh to the God who will soon come in judgement. Repentance is more than turning away from sin, it is also a turning to a fruitful life.
John called the people to repentance in preparation for the coming of God’s kingdom- for the day of the Lord (Is 13:6). John denounces evil wherever he finds it, including within Herod’s family. His baptism of repentance was an external repentance. He condemned the self-righteous Pharisees and the Saducees. He upbraided and warned them, “you brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee the wrath to come? Bear fruit which befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourself, ‘we have Abraham as our father … (Mt 3:7-10). He summons people to righteousness. Repentance involves turning around, a new direction, a change of heart, a new commitment. John calls for people is to repent, because only when we face sin squarely and renounce it can we be freed from it.
We need to repent of our sins as we wait eargerly for the coming of Christ this period. Repentance is not a one time action, but must take place daily. Neither our world or our lives are suitable for the presence of God. There is no entering of heaven with all our filthiness. We have to wash our souls through repentance and confession.
Fr JB Mbbah-Offor