ü The theme of this second Sunday of Advent is peace
ü Peace in an idyllic society described with beautiful images by the prophet Isaiah
ü Peace which is the consequence of conversion to the Lord
FIRST READING - Is 11:1-10
v In the liturgy of this second Sunday we read from the book of the prophet Isaiah
v It speaks of a time when everything will be good because a bud will blossom from the stump of Jesse.
v That is, the prophecy made by the Lord to David through the prophet Nathan will be fulfilled "I will build a house for you..."
v It is a time of joy because God does not forget his promises.
v The vocabulary used in this reading open us up to life, to hope, to joy: will blossom, justice, evil will be destroyed, the gentiles will seek this new bud, everything will be peace on the holy mountain.
v Upon this bud which is Jesus the Spirit of the Lord will rest with all his gifts.
ü And thus he will not judge by appearance, but in truth
ü He will judge the poor with justice, this is not what normally happens among us human beings
ü he will eliminate evil
ü He will gird himself with justice and faithfulness
v After this presentation of the new bud from the stump of Jesse, Isaiah describes an ideal way of life, which reminds us of the paradise described in the book of Genesis when God in the evenings used to come down and walk peacefully with his creature-child-human being.
v In the society which will be born from the presence and welcoming of this new bud
ü Those who are contraries or enemies will live peacefully and friendly together: they will eat, play... their children will play and rest together.
ü Peace and goodness shall be such in this new society that the children will lead the wild animals, and a baby will play at the cobra's den.
v In this new society there will be no destruction, no harm because the whole creation will be filled with the presence of the Lord.
v Jesus is this bud over whom the Spirit of God rests because he is the Second Person of the Trinity who has come to live among us to teach how to be brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.
v COME LORD JESUS and give us the strength and the wish to tear down the walls that separate us, give strangers the strength to live together, and to discover that you are present in every human being, give us the will to live in harmony and peace in our homes, work place and faith community.
JUSTICE SHALL FLOURISH IN HIS TIME, AND FULLNESS OF PEACE FOR EVER.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
And with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
And your afflicted ones with judgment.
Justice shall flourish in his days
And profund peace, till the moon be no more
May he rule from sea to sea
And froom the River to the ends of the earth.
For he shall rescue the poor man when he cries out,
And the afflicted when he has no one to help him
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
The lives of the poor he shall save.
May his name be blessed forever;
As long as the sun his name shall remain
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed
All the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
The psalmist prays that God may give the king the necessary gifts to promote justice and peace.
Maybe our problem is that we do not pray for those who govern us, to pray for them and for all who are in any kind of leadership, so that power does not blind them.
GOSPEL Mt 3:1-12
Ø John the Baptist appears in the horizon of Advent
Ø John preaches and calls people to repentance, to forgiveness.
Ø The evangelist describes John as a man who lives with austerity, his voice is strong and threatening for those who do not accept the coming of the one who is to come.
Ø Matthew says that John is the one that Isaiah announced "A voice cries out in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord.
Ø In spite of his fearful appearance, John attracts large crowds that come to listen to his words and to be baptized in the Jordan waters, as a sign of conversion, and of the willingness to change their lives.
Ø John speaks frankly and says terrible things: do not trust in appearances, do not trust in titles, do not trust in false securities, even these stones can become children of Abraham. What does all of this mean for us followers of Jesus of the XXI century?
Ø Is that a call for us to live in the truth of who we are?
· the truth of our baptism, of being baptized into the life of Christ, the Son of God.
· the truth of a real and true relationship, not made of mere words and false securities: "I am Catholic" "I go to mass every day" "I think of the poor in Thanksgiving and at Christmas" "I give toys to the children of the poor, sometimes they are new and sometimes there are the toys our children do not want anymore", "I have the right not to forgive my enemy, to keep that grudge in my heart because they have hurt me..."
· Each one of us may complete this list of reasons
Ø John announces a baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire. This is our baptism, the one we received when we were children or maybe adults. Our baptism continues to act in our life every day.
Ø Let us listen to the invitation that the Church makes to us in this second Sunday of Advent. Let us listen to the voice of John who invites us to conversion to be able to follow the one of whom he cannot unfasten the sandals. Then our life will be as it is described in the first reading, full of peace and joy.
SECOND READING Rm 15:4-9
§ Paul writes to his community and tells us that what has been written, has been written for our instruction.
§ So that with the encouragement given by Scripture we may hope. How is our hope?
§ Then Paul exhorts to live according to the way that Isaiah describes, which will be when we accept the Messiah.
§ The Messiah has come, he is in our midst "he put his tent among us, and walks with us" this is Jesus the Carpenter from Nazareth, whom we know to be the incarnate Son of the Father
§ Paul tells us "welcome one another, as Christ welcomes you, and do this for the glory of God.
§ Christ preached to the circumcised, the Jews, to make present to us the faithfulness of God to his promises, so that the Uncircumcised may glorify God.
§ We may change the word circumcised by baptized. Let us live as the first reading and the Gospel invite us so that those who do not believe, those who left the Church, the unbelievers may come to the light, not the light of the city of Jerusalem, but of the Church, to be able to live a relationship of profound intimacy with the Lord and among us .
This happened to me in this occasion: all those who handled the affair were very troubled not knowing where to place us due to the hurry of our going out, because as soon as the decision of our living the convent was communicated to the prioress and the Archbishop, there was such disturbance and excitement that in a few hours it was divulgated in the whole city, and the Archbishop as well as the most distinguished persons blamed the poor confessors (Who after so many worries and more hours of prayers, had deliberated. On the case in the presence of God.)In view of so great a disturbance in the community and in the families, they decided to bring us to a little village near the city, but I was so much impressed that I, decidedly told them that I was not committing any crime in leaving the convent and in not waiting to go home, and I did not like to move from Tarragona. In this moment God misguided me to go and ask the favor from a good friend of ours thinking we could be very well there. María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 112-113.
In the province of Tarragona I was loved by nearly all the people, but there were a few who wished me dead. The archbishop knew this, and one day as we were talking about this possibility, I told him, "Your Excellency, this in no way frightens me or holds me back. Send me anywhere in your diocese and I'll go there gladly, even if I knew that the road was lined with two rows of murderers waiting for me with daggers drawn. I would gladly walk on, thinking it a gain to die. My gain would be to die at the hands of those who hate Jesus Christ."
I have always wanted to die a poor man in some hospital, or on the scaffold as a martyr, or to be put to death by the enemies of the holy religion we profess and preach, thus sealing the virtues and truths I have preached and taught with my blood. St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 466-467
CLARET, Antonio María , Autobiografía.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
PAGOLA, José Antonio. El Camino abierto por JESUS. 2012.