FEASTING ON THE WORD
"If you meditate on the Scriptures it will appear to you in its brilliant splendor." ―St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Second Sunday of Advent (B)
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 | Psalm 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14 | 2 Peter 3:8-14 | Mark 1:1-8
The readings for the second Sunday of Advent summon us to play our essential part by leading lives of repentance, conversion, and renewal, thus preparing the way for the Lord's second coming.
The story is told about a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father tried to find him. He searched to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Manila daily. The ad read: “Dear Emil, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.” On Saturday 500 Emils showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
The First Reading announces a new beginning for the people of God, with the powerful and healing words “Comfort my people”. Isaiah speaks to the exiles in Babylon and tells them the LORD will come and lead them back to the Promised Land since the people have repented of their sins. He reminds them that the God who brought their ancestors to freedom by way of the desert is about to lead them home and they need to get ready for the journey. God has not abandoned them. Instead, he pronounced a nation-wide forgiveness. To a nation whose dreams had been shattered by conquest and exile, these words offered hope for the future.
In 1878, Thomas Alva Edison, America's greatest inventor, was working to perfect the long-burning incandescent light bulb. It took a whole team of men twenty-four straight hours to put just one together. When Edison was finished with one light bulb, he gave it to a young boy helper, who nervously carried it up the stairs. Step by step he cautiously watched his hands, obviously frightened of dropping such a priceless piece of work. You probably guessed what happened by now; that the poor young fellow dropped the bulb at the top of the stairs. It took the entire team of men twenty-four more hours to make another bulb. Finally, tired and ready for a break, Edison was ready to have his bulb carried up the stairs. He gave it to the same young boy who dropped the first one. He gave him a second chance.
The apostle Peter is faced with false teachers who dismiss the Church’s traditional teaching about the Second Coming by pointing contemptuously to its failure to occur, despite constant teaching that it was just around the corner. He writes to help set things straight. God does not work in human time. His time is different from ours. If it seems like He is delaying, it is not a delay at all. God is patient, wanting nobody to be lost. He explains that the Lord Jesus is not delaying His Second Coming, but giving time to as many people as possible to reorient and prepare themselves for His arrival.
Jeric Remilla, provincial governor of Agimat, facilitated the relief distribution for people hardest hit by COVID-19 and recent typhoon Ulysses. One day he arrived late at a restaurant. He had no breakfast or lunch, and he was starving. As he moved down the serving line, he held out his plate and received one piece of chicken. The governor said to the serving lady, "Excuse me, do you mind if I get another piece of chicken. I'm very hungry." The woman replied, "Sorry, I'm supposed to give one piece to each person." He repeated, "But I'm extremely hungry," and again she said, "Only one to a customer." Governor Jeric was normally a modest man, but he decided this was the time to use the weight of his office and said, "Miss, do you know who I am? I am the governor of this province." She answered, "Do you know who I am? I'm the lady in charge of chicken! Move along, sir."
John the Baptist makes his Advent entrance in the proclamation of Mark’s Gospel. John plays a unique role in the history of salvation. We call him the Baptist, the voice crying out in the wilderness. Our Gospel, invites us to consider John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus. John’s preaching consists of two aspects: first, the preaching of repentance and baptism and the forgiveness of sins; second, the announcement of the coming of the mightier One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. He was important because he instructed the people how to prepare for Jesus' coming. But he was not as important as Jesus was. According to him, he was not the superstar, only a supporting actor. John the Baptist abounds with joy over himself getting smaller and Jesus getting bigger. For him, the voice of the Shepherd must replace the voice crying in the wilderness. As his message prepared the way for Jesus in the first century, we, too, are called to prepare ourselves for Jesus' coming by naming whatever it is in our life that crowds out Jesus as we pray,“ More of Jesus… Less of me…” Shift the focus on Jesus. When Jesus becomes greater in the world and we become lesser in the world, our joy will increase. <enrique.ofs>
Jeff Jacinto, PhD, DHum