Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Advent - 2020
“Reclaiming Advent and living it out.”
Dearly beloved, we celebrate yet another great moment to be gathered around the table of the Lord for this 2nd Sunday of Advent. Celebrating the first Sunday of Advent last week, I reminded you of various comings of the Lord in our lives and in the World. There was also an encouragement to commit ourselves to prayer, silence, scripture reading and meditation etc. Many are the disciplines required by this season. However, the goal of all these disciplines, is that you and I will be ready when the Lord comes to us; in His word and sacrament, at Christmas or at the moment of death. We therefore need to be sober and be reflective at this time of the year. He needs you to be ready.
Friends, a story is told about Dave’s mom who comes home to announce to him and his dad that her closest friend Mrs. Brown would be visiting them by the weekend with her husband and their only daughter Jane. Among other things, the family was hoping to get the two young people in a relationship, and both of them were looking forward to that visit.
As you would expect, a lot of preparations were underway. Dave’s dad had to put the lawn mower into action, fix new curtains, and rearrange the dining room. Dave’s mum did extensive shopping and even got something they never used before. Dave had only one thing to do, and that is to appear in clean clothes on that day.
On the day of the visit, as Dave’s parents made the final preparations, Dave decided to do some painting on a canvas to impress Jane who might be looking in his room. The Brown’s finally arrived and were warmly welcomed.
Dave could hear them coming in, but he decided to do the last bit of painting with a particular color. As he was finishing, his father invited him to welcome Jane and her parents. Dave rushes out to greet them, but Jane remarked with disappointment that his clothes were spotted with paint all over. At that moment, Dave took a closer look at himself, and realized how awful he looked. His parents could not hide their anger as they ordered him to change into new clothes immediately. Did Dave prepare for the visit of the Browns properly? Yes, but he was not ready when it mattered most. He was so engulfed in the painting that he missed the opportunity to present the best of himself. He concentrated on the trivial things. The cost was losing Jane’s admiration.
Friends, we spend so much time on other good things and perhaps so many of them, but they may be unnecessary things as we prepare for the coming of Christ. Take a moment to listen to St. Peter from the second reading as he describes how the day of the Lord will be:
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.
Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
If you are preparing to die on the 25th so as meet Him, what will be the important things to do? What are the necessary things to pay attention to?
The central message of this Second Sunday of Advent is about preparation. The rhythm of life functions with preparations. We could also learn that from God, in the events of creation. Before He created the creeping things and sea animals, he already prepared the land and the sea. Before he created Adam and Eve, He prepared a garden for them. It is one thing to prepare but it is yet another to prepare well; do not end up like Dave by doing everything well except …?
In the first reading (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11) the prophet Isaiah speaks to a generation in exile who were eager to get back to their land; to rebuild the temple and establish full communion with Yahweh, an experience they missed in exile. The words of the prophet are “Comfort, give comfort to my people.” God was coming to restore them. However, were they ready or prepared for Him? Were the things that caused them to be in exile, done away with? It wasn’t too late, they could prepare; they could get themselves ready.
The Gospel Reading encourages us to pay heed to the voice on the desert. A call to repent; turn around and do things different. If even it means from good to better.
There is a message for us with the description of John’s wardrobe and diet. The materials mentioned may look common but to get each of them requires thorough work. We are therefore instructed, not only to be modest in our clothing and diet this season, but also to be ready to tie up our waist in readiness for the coming of the Lord.
Wishing you a fruitful advent.