December 7, 2008, Year B
Second Sunday of Advent
Reflections on the Readings
Theme: The Day is at Hand
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:14)
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is John the Baptist preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Embracing an austere lifestyle, the Baptizer prepared the people to meet him who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. This is why John said, "After me comes he who is mightier than I." His lifestyle and daily sustenance spoke of a heart that was persuaded the day of the Lord was at hand. John would have nothing to do with any extraordinary provisions for the flesh. His preoccupation was to prepare the way of the Lord, to make his paths straight.
John's water baptism awakened the souls of those who went out to him in the wilderness by the Jordan. The promise of that baptism pointed to him whose baptism would ignite the soul into a holy fire of spiritual communion.
Ponder on the divine fellowship Jesus wills for those who love him. This is what John proclaimed. A monk of Old Testament proportions, stands on the banks of the Jordan River, itself a place of passage into the Promised Land. In this place John speaks of the promise of a new day, a new time, a new creation.
The purification of all things begins within. In Advent we sanctify ourselves. It is time to seek the Lord; to draw near to him. His day is near, let us be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. He who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance will patiently work out all of his promises to humanity.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs. Here is your God. Let us go out to meet him. May the day dawn and the Sun of Righteousness arise in our hearts. Jesus does not delay his promise, but rather he is patient with us. Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed. The day is at hand. Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
If war and rumors of war are to cease they must first cease in us. The promise of new heavens and a new earth is at hand. Such a promise is only obscure to those who embrace Armageddon in their heart. It is time, high time, we should beat our swords into plowshares and learn war no more. Especially this is possible if we will rend our hearts and invite the daystar to rise mightily and deeply within. Then shall come to pass the saying that is written, "O' death where is your victory? O' grave where is your sting?"
When we have a vision of what is imperishable, we will have glimpsed the day which is at hand. When we have caught sight of that which is immortal, then we will have glimpsed the day which is at hand. When we have eyes to see the divine image in each other, then we will have glimpsed the day which is at hand. Then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
Be comforted this Holy Advent you children of the light! The day is at hand when He shall come and we will go out to meet him. To you is given the Holy Spirit of Promise, so that you may overcome the spirit of the world, the spirit of death. Be of good cheer and rejoice, every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 40)
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, you have given me a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. Amen.