Homily for December 7, 2014: 2nd Sunday of Advent: Msgr. Jim Miller

Second Sunday of Advent

December 7, 2014

Reading 1 is 40:1-5, 9-11

Responsorial Psalm ps 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14

R/ Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Reading 2 2 pt 3:8-14

Gospel mk 1:1-8

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Advent is about waiting but an active waiting.   Last week in the comic strip a small child asked her older sister how long it was until Christmas and her sister said it was a loonnnggg way off.   Then she asked her Mother who said it was just around the corner and the child said for once she liked the adult answer better than the child’s answer!  

One of the articles I was reading suggested there are three comings of Jesus.   The first coming is the birth of our Savior about 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.   We await the second coming of Jesus at the end of time.   The third coming of Jesus is today when he comes to us in the sacraments and is with us when two or three gather in his name. 

The second reading was addressed to a group of people struggling with problems particular to their own community.  They were experiencing doubt; not everything was working out as they had believed it would.  They had believed that the Second Coming was very close at hand and fully expected to see the Risen Lord within their lifetime.  As the years wore on and Jesus did not return, it became clear that either they had misunderstood or they were wrong.

How many of us have held beliefs that we felt were not working out as we thought they should?  How many of us have either said or heard it said, “I thought if I had lived a good life I would be spared this misfortune”?   Sadly, many people leave the practice of their faith because of disappointment that God has not done things expected or wanted by them.

Some in the early community began to deny belief in the Second Coming just as we deny or ignore our own beliefs if they do not work out as we expect – of if the beliefs do not suit us and the way we choose to live. God’s way is not our way, and we tend to forget this.

Peter reminds us “that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.’’

Advent is not just a four Sunday season of preparation but it is truly a way of life as we want to be ready if Jesus comes tomorrow or next year.  In Isaiah a voice cries out “Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God.”   I wonder how many times instead of inviting Jesus into my life I placed obstacles that Jesus had to avoid.   When we sin we make someone or something more important to us than our relationship with God.   Sooner or later we realize our stupidity and ask for forgiveness(hopefully).   Part of our waiting is putting up Christmas decorations and bringing more light into the darkness.   Another part of our waiting is to find time for confession.   Rather than give up hope in Jesus’ appearance, believers are to use this gift of time for repentance and conversion before God, and reconciliation with one another.  To do so is to prepare a worthy welcome for Jesus.  This Sunday afternoon there will be at least 8 priests helping with confession at 3 p.m. in Holy Ghost Church and everyone is invited to attend.   Won’t it be wonderful if we could pack the church!!

Isaiah also says “Go up onto a high mountain…cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news!”   John the Baptist prepares the way of the Lord and says that he baptizes with water but he, (Jesus), “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  How are we like John the Baptist inviting people to receive the gift of faith that we have?   How are we doing welcoming people to our Masses.  If a stranger walks into our church and sits next to you will they feel welcomed?   What can you do to prepare the way of the Lord?