Readings for December 9
Second Sunday of Advent
Baruch 5:1-9; Philippians 1:4-6; 8-11; Luke 3:1-6
Thirteen years ago this week, my two grandsons were baptized at Mass on the Second Sunday of Advent. In the homily, the priest made reference to the fact that the Gospel was about two cousins, John the Baptist and Jesus, and that two cousins were being baptized that day. He asked, “Which of these children will be like Jesus and which will be like John?”
This question has remained with me through the years as I watched them grow. As I ponder the Gospel today, the question broadens into how will a person be like one of them, and how would a person act like John or Jesus? The place to begin to find these answers is of course in sacred Scripture.
As a disciple of Jesus, there is much to learn from his life as it is portrayed in Scripture. His was a life of self-giving, caring for others, and leading us to the Father.
Today’s Gospel begins to show us the stage on which the drama of their life began. You will notice that the story begins during the time when the Roman’s had a hold on the region. It portrays John as a man proclaiming repentance and forgiveness, perhaps even forgiveness of the Romans. He shows his followers the way to God, pointing out Jesus and directing them to leave him and follow Jesus.
We can emulate John by doing the same, directing others to follow Jesus by our actions, words, and our own awareness of the presence of Jesus in our lives. This awareness will be carried through to others and they will see Jesus in our actions they will hear him as we speak and they will be led to follow him by our example.
The passages from Baruch and Paul remind us that Jesus is returning to bring us back from our own self-inflicted exile of sin. We are being offered the chance to repent and change our lives by forgiving others as we are constantly being forgiven by God.
This is the hope we are offered; that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” How will you repent and turn to Christ this Advent? Will you accept the hope that is offered? Will you be like John pointing towards Jesus by your words and actions?
“The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” These wonderful words from Psalm 126 bring to mind two thoughts. Do we as Americans, living in this first- world, free country truly appreciate the great things the Lord has done for us or do we take them for granted believing that somehow we are entitled to them? Are we filled with joy?
In the beginning of this extremely busy time of the year, perhaps we can write this psalm verse down and carry it with us as we move through Advent. Allow it to serve as a reminder that Jesus is coming to fill our hearts with his joy.
Kathleen Ebner is a member of St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Lewes, where she serves as a spiritual director and catechist.