“O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with Your justice, the king’s son. … May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun his name shall remain...
Reflections on the readings for the Second Sunday of Advent (December 4, 2022): IS 11:1-10; PS 72:1-2,7-8,12-13,17; ROM 15:4-9;MT 3:1-12
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.” (Psalm 72:1,17)
In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah tells us that God has promised to send an incomparable King to help and heal His people and the world. We hear from Isaiah again in the reading from Matthew who quotes him about the coming of the Lord and the one designated to prepare His path. Every year, the Second Sunday of Advent speaks of this person who is a prophet himself: St. John the Baptist readies the way for our Lord. This cousin of Jesus was chosen by God for this unique responsibility before birth, just as the Angel Gabriel had told his father Zechariah. Today, the Gospel takes us to that time of preparation for Christ who is about to change -- and redeem -- the whole world. “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. … He said, … ‘I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is Mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire’” (Matthew 3:1-3,7,11).”
John the Baptist also confronted Pharisees and Sadducees just as Jesus would do. These religious leaders were interested in keeping their own power challenged and tested Jesus over and over again. With John, it seems they were trying to use him and his ministry of baptism; possibly to ingratiate themselves with the people, possibly to learn more about both John and Jesus and their plans. But John would have none of their hypocrisy or arrogance. He saw that they lacked real repentance for their sins. Today, we, too, must recognize our self-centeredness and sinfulness. We need to entrust ourselves to Christ humbly and cooperate with His grace. Then we need not fear past, present or future. We need only accept His love and love Him and one another in return.
Suggested missionary action: We can spend some time this week contemplating the coming of Christ into the world two thousand years ago. And we can also ponder His coming into our own soul. He came to us through Baptism, but He is also here for us each and every day. We have only to we open ourselves to Him.