John the Baptist’s words are still a vital call to each of us today
Reflections on the readings for the Second Sunday of Advent (December 8, 2019): IS 11:1-10; PS 72:1-2,7-8,12-13,17; ROM 15:4-9; MT 3:1-12
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
This Sunday, as we enter more deeply into the Advent season, we think about our own preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
And we hear the proclamation of that one person especially chosen by God to ready the Jewish people for the coming of His Son, the Messiah. “John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Matthew 3:1-3). Real repentance means far more than simple regret for past or present failings. If we truly repent we have to change. We have to be open to God’s will. We have to choose His will as our own.
A number of those who heard John preach were able to accept the idea that they had sinned and were not living up to all that God asked of them. But beyond that, John was asking them to allow Almighty God to free them from their misconceptions and misunderstandings, from their prejudices and their self-centeredness. As a prophet of the Most High, John urged them to ready themselves for something new – Someone new – who would fulfill all the promises God had made to His beloved people. Rather than clinging to the ways of the world or their own desires, they needed to let God transform their hearts. Then they would truly be able to grasp the saving message that would soon come to them through the words, the sacrifice, and the person of Jesus Christ.