12-8-2019 Reflection

The First Sunday of Advent focused on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Today, the Second Sunday of Advent, the focus shifts. We read about the coming of the Messiah in today’s first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord. We recognize here the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We too have received these gifts at our Confirmation. The Messiah came to bring justice and peace. As the Psalm response proclaims: Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever. We too are called to bring justice and peace to our world today using the gifts of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul in today’s Letter to the Romans echos living in harmony. Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.

St. John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Advent is a spiritual season in which we are called to examine our lives, to repent and recommit to a life in Jesus Christ. Repentance implies change of heart – a heart open to the presence and action of God’s grace. The message of St. John the Baptist, a call to repent is valid for Christians of every generation, including us.

God always takes the initiative, and tries to get our attention to undergo conversion. God’s grace is always there. How do we respond? St. John the Baptist preached with a sense of urgency – the kingdom of God is at hand. Similarly, we are to hear the call to conversion with a sense of urgency. We should not delay. Perhaps we ask ourselves the question, where should I start? A great starting point is to go to Confession. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Jesus Christ forgives our sins, gives us grace to avoid the sins we confessed – the people, places and things that could lead us to sin and we have a clean starting point spiritually. Only then, can we heed the words of St. John the Baptist: produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. The good fruit is our loving thoughts, words and actions. Let us allow Mary, Mother of God to act in our Advent journey – the more we do so, the more Jesus Christ will be glorified!

God bless us all always!
Deacon Mike