HOMILY FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A.
THEME: PRODUCE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
* Is 11: 1 – 10, Rom 15: 4 – 9, Matt 3: 1 – 12.
Today’s gospel is a perfect example of the type of preaching we call ‘Kerygma’ – the herald’s announcement of the gospel of Christ for ontological /foundational repentance /conversion. The summary of this Kerygma is found in today’s gospel : ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near’, Matt 3: 2.
In today’s gospel, John the Baptist insists that we should bear fruits that befit repentance and not just deceive ourselves that we are Christians. He throws a hot challenge to the ‘Pharisees’ among us – those sunk in ritualistic religious formalism as if God is satisfied with our mere religious observances when our lives remain uncoverted. He challenges also the ‘Saducees’ among us – those living in licentious squalor and in utter neglect of the demands of the spiritual. He says: ‘Even now the axe is laid to the roots of the tree so that any tree which fails to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire’.
* Watching the way many of our young men are dying today, it looks as if this warning of John the Baptist is coming to fulfilment.
Any Church that does not produce good fruit (holy people) will fall; Any school that does not produce good students will be shut down; Any government that does not deliver help and emancipation to its people will be dethroned. Any family that does not train and turn out good children into the society will be disgraced. Any community that does not work hard will be ravaged by poverty. Any society that does not have peace and love will be destroyed.
*B. THE MESSIANIC ERA*
The messianic era is the era of the ‘new civilization of love’ (Pope St John Paul II) when according to the 1st reading of today, the spirit of the Lord is enthroned in the lives of believers: the spirit of wisdom, insight, counsel, power, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. It is an era of divine security when children of God are able to enjoy an unimaginable degree of peace through the internalization of the Word of God. We have it presented for us here the biblical image of a zoological parade that is rather awesome; where the wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kids, the calf and lion cub feed together with a little boy leading them. There will be no more fear and suspicion of one another. ‘No harm or hurt on my entire mountain for the country will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters covers the sea ‘.
* Song: All over the world the Spirit is moving….
It will be a period of triumph of justice and peace – When admissions in our Universities will be purely on merit – When drunkard and womanizer husbands will stop drinking and womanizing – When flirting, disloyal and nagging wives will stop flirting and submit again and become loving to their husbands – When bully and cultist sons would become gentle and loyal to their daddies – When wayward daughters become chaste again and dress like children of God – When the police stops harassing innocent okada people on the roads – When office workers will push people’s files without waiting for a tip off – When politicians and leaders will stop all the embezzlement and serve the people selflessly – When Christmas will no longer be a period of corruption, cheating and blood shed but a moment of inner conversion and joyful celebration of the birth of the Messiah.
*C. FRUITS OF REPENTANCE*
May the Lord help us to be tolerant with each other especially during this hot season, Rom 15: 4 – 9 and be able to reconcile all our quarrels. May we see to the fulfilment of today’s responsorial psalm: ‘In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails’, Ps 72: 7.
May the Lord help us to bear fruits of repentance. Our fruitlessness is due to lack of repentance. Our lack of repentance is due to lack of the sense of sin. Our lack of the sense of sin is due to our lack of devotion to the Word of God. Our lack of devotion to the Word of God is due to our lack of the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Cor 5: 18. We are fortunate to be Catholics who know the power of Confession of sins but we must beware of the abuse of that sacrament.
* Story of little Johny and his sister Mary. Johny committed a crime which only the younger sister saw him do – He mistakenly killed his grandmother’s duck. His sister continued to use that information to blackmail him until he decided to confess his sins to his grandmother. Only after that did he become free.
Our Baptism must be accompanied by repentance, 1 Pet 2: 21, Matt 3: 11. Baptism of water then was a symbol of complacent repentance but Baptism of Holy Spirit and fire (which we are all supposed to have received) is a symbol of radical repentance. It must be accompanied by a circumcision of heart, Jer 31: 31 and Joel 2: 3.
* Song: Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.. Break us, melt us, remold us and use us. Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.
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