Sunday, December 8, 2019
THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
”Do not despair, do not despond, but renew your soul by repentance, and tears, and confession, and by doing good things. And never cease doing this.”
When I was very young my grandpa always promised me a present (gift) for Christmas. This made me very anxious and eager every year. But it came with expectations! It meant I had to do well in school, go to church regularly and behave well to be “worthy” of that present.
I believe every grandma and grandpa has a present (gift) for their grandkids this Christmas. I can imagine how the kids are so eager and anxious! They are already in the fantasy world, wondering what is in the parcel!
In lieu of this scenario that I want you to understand that God the Father has promised us a gift (present) for this Christmas. That is, the birth of Christ. But before we merit it we need to prepare for his coming with REFORMATION (faith) in this Advent.
It is against this background that the prophet Isaiah, in our first reading, called for reformation amongst the Israelites and bolstered the hope of the people that God will respond to their sincere conversion (repentance) by giving them a new King who has the spirit of the LORD on him to rule them with justice and peace.
As human as we are a lot has gone on in our lives throughout this year which have disintegrated our friendship with God and distorted our relationship with our neighbors: leadings us to live as if we are enemies of one other. We have become spiritually poor, lowly and afflicted.
So to make harmony and peace to prevail we need reformation in every facet of our lives.
But, this can be realized only when we allow the spirit of God to work in our lives. We must strive to give God his rightful place in our daily lives and to follow the path that leads to justice and peace in our families, workplace and communities by intensifying our communal prayers, penance (forgiveness and compassion) and sacrificing (sharing and caring).
The theme for reformation to engender justice and peace continues to run through Apostle Paul’s thoughtful exhortation to the Christian community of Rome in our second reading.
The Christian Jews seemed to have had a hard time accepting the Christian Gentiles in their community. So Paul employs the “Christ factor” to promote harmony and peaceful co-existence amongst them.
So he encourages, “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcome you, for the glory of God.”- Romans 15:5-7.
My dear family of God, in this Advent season we need to reform our mind sets and perceptions we hold against people and give open arms to make justice and peace (which Christ comes with - the gift of the Father) prevail. If the world can become a better place it depends on you!
Finally, in our gospel reading John the Baptist makes a clarion call to repentance (reformation) in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
His call was in response to curtail the ascendency of moral corruption, injustice, religious degeneration and the rise of vices amongst the people.
He reprimanded them to instill justice, peace, orderliness and complete obedience of the commandments. A total demand for conversion and reformation.
As Christians Advent season invites us to take a sober look into our lives and see how we are faring: our response to the principles of our faith, our obedience to the Ten Commandments, our commitment to our family values, how we have treated people, our heart desires and our thoughts.
We need conversion and reformation to enjoy the Father’s present (gift) on Christmas Day. Do this with faith! Remember this, “ Without God we can’t; without me God won’t” - St. Thomas Aquinas. May God increase our Faith.
Enjoy the mixture of the sun shine and the cold... isn’t that beautiful!
But stay safe on the road... don’t forget to bundle up. I love you all.
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Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.