Theme: The Dreams of a Perfect Society
By: Fr. Luke Ijezie
Homily for Sunday December 5 2021
1. There is both joy and frustration in preaching in our kind of world and society. The joy is derived from the type of message we preach and the positive reception of that message. We usually preach to people of a future of joy and gladness. They often readily accept the message because their present situation is a contrast to that vision. Naturally, people want to hear of a better state of things and a life without suffering and sorrow as opposed to the present. As we preach, we see people filled with joyful expectation which gives us a sense of fulfilment. But there is also frustration when we see that despite all our expectations of glory, the reality is that pain and sorrow continue to multiply in the society. Sometimes, it appears as if our words were only figments of the fertile imagination. But are they really so? God forbid!
The period of Advent is the period of expectation of the coming of the Messiah who will bring to fulfillment all these dreams of a Perfect society. The liturgical readings of the period are made to reflect this mood of expectation. The readings of this 2nd Sunday of Advent paint such a glorious picture of the future that even the most credulous may not but wonder: Is this really possible? The Bible continues to tell us that it is possible and will surely be realised. Without this hope, believers can hardly survive the present torments.
2. The first reading from Baruck 5:1-9 encapsulates the dreams of a glorious future for God’s people. At the time of the writing, Jerusalem was nothing to write home about, as she was a city drill deprived of her splendour and illustrious inhabitants.. The prophet invites her to take off her mourning cloths as the period of suffering is over. She should take off all the symbols of sorrow and distress and wrap herself with the beauty that emanates from God’s presence. Since God is returning to His people, everything will change for good. It may take time, but it will surely come to pass. It will be like a return to paradise.
3. The Christian message is good news that God has fulfilled this promise of the transformation of all things. In the second reading, Paul prays for the Philippians so that God may deepen their knowledge and understanding regarding the great things in store for them and waiting to be fully revealed in the coming of Jesus. Paul is a messenger sent to proclaim these good tidings. He thanks the Philippian Christians for helping to spread the same news.
4. In the Gospel, we also find John the Baptist announcing the imminent arrival of the new age while calling for adequate preparation for the day. What is clear is that all humanity will see the salvation of God.
5. As we continue in this season of Advent to prepare for the birth of Jesus, may we never stop dreaming of that perfect state of affairs which is the very foundation of our faith. Despite the increasing spate of evil and the multiplication of factors that lead to hopelessness, we can never give up dreaming and hoping. We should never lower our standards by joining the bandwagon of evil doers and the spirit of the age. We should rather contradict the age by making greater efforts to live in love, in justice and in promoting peace in a society where many enjoy promoting conflict and violence.
With the psalmist of Psalm 125 we are confident that those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap.
May God continue to deliver us from our present bondage to forces of evil so that we may reach that promised land of joy and peace!
Fr. Luke Ijezie