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Reflection on the Gospel for 2nd Sunday of Advent by Fr. Isidore Clark, O.P. (Text and Audio)

Reflection on the Gospel for 2nd Sunday of Advent by Fr. Isidore Clark, O.P. (Text and Audio)
John The Baptist proclaims the coming of Christ

Greetings from Fr. Isidore Clarke.Today I'm going to reflect on the reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent, 

Year A.

I've been watching a fascinating TV series entitled, 'Who do you think you are?'In this, celebrities are helped to discover their family trees, and to learn about their ancestors.This tells them where they have come from.That helps them to determine their identity.

That's the theme of today's 1st Reading, (Isaiah 11. 1-10). In this the prophet foresaw that from Jesse, the father of King David, the ideal king would descend.He would be the Messiah for whom God's people longed.He would establish a reign of universal peace in which He would rule with gentleness, wisdom and justice. He would protect the weak and oppressed.Pagans would come to know and worship the one true God.Even brute beasts would be at peace with each other.

In our troubled, violent world we all long for this idyllic harmony, in which we would be at peace with each other, at peace within ourselves and the whole of creation would be in harmony with God. Especially during Advent we must reflect on our need for the peace which only Jesus can give.

In today's Gospel, (Matthew 3. 1-12), John the Baptist proclaims that with the coming of Christ that idyllic age was about to dawn.As the crowds flocked to hear the prophet's words there was a great atmosphere of expectation and excitement.God was about to fulfil the promise proclaimed by Isaiah.

But John brought the crowd and us up with a jolt.Far from taking God's salvation for granted, we must prepare with repentance for the coming of our God.That means we must have a change of heart and the way we live.That applies to people of every walk of life, even religious leaders.No one should presume that physical membership of the Chosen Race would guarantee his or her salvation.And it's not sufficient for us to be merely nominal Christians.Each of us must turn away from whatever prevents us from whole-heartedly welcoming Jesus into our daily lives.

Although Jesus was born long ago and then ascended into heaven, He is still with us through the Spirit.He still approaches us and offers us His salvation.There's a constant need for us to repent for our sins –to change the way we think, desire and behave.Repeatedly we need to renew our eagerness to welcome Jesus into our lives, our commitment to following Him.

That means striving to be at peace with God and with each other.In the 2nd Reading, (Romans 15. 4-9), Paul reminds us that this will only be possible if we show tolerance and friendliness towards those who are different from us.These simply virtues are pre-requisites to harmony and peace.

Advent is a special time when we stress the need for the coming of our God.It would be a personal tragedy if the words of John's Gospel were true of us: 'He came to his own people and they didn't receive him,' (Jn.1.11)But then He adds, 'To those who did receive Him He gave power to become the children of God' –not just in name, but in fact.That's what we should all long for and prepare for, especially during Advent.

Our preparation for the Coming of God must begin with a sense of wonder and amazement at who it was who was born at Bethlehem.Our annual celebration of His birthday can so easily make us blasé about the wonder of Christmas.As we prepare for that joyful day we need first to be shaken out of our complacency.

The baby, born at Bethlehem, is almighty God, the God of glory and majesty, the creator of heaven and earth.It's astonishing, mind blowing, that He should become a helpless, vulnerable baby -like the rest of us.If ever we lose sight of the divine majesty of the babe born at Bethlehem we will never be able to appreciate the wonder of God becoming man, living among us.

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