Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Second Sunday of Advent—6 December AD 2009

 Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Blessing of the Advent Wreath

Saint John the Baptist - Titian, 1540 A.D.
Saint John the Baptist - Titian, 1540 A.D.

    Saint Paul tells us in this morning’s epistle that the redemptive work of our Lord was not for the Jews only, but benefited also the Gentiles—the non-Jews who received the word of God.[1]  While God’s covenant with Abraham specified that Abraham’s numerous descendants would be God’s chosen people, the Old Testament writers occasionally wrote about the inclusion of the Gentiles as well.  Today Saint Paul quotes from the Psalms and from Isaias but there are other such passages in the Old Testament as well.[2]  My favorite would be the Prophet Malachias, who also predicted the change in worship that would accompany the incorporation of the Gentiles: “From the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.”[3]

    The redemption of the Gentiles was as much a part of God’s plan as was the redemption of the Jews—a fact which ought to be a great consolation to us—that God loves us in spite of our sinful natures and our many failings.  Saint Paul urges us to take heart in this love of God, “that through the patience and the consolation afforded by the Scriptures we may have hope.”

    Particularly in these weeks before Christmas it is appropriate that we read from Prophet Isaias, who told the Jews so much about the Savior who was to come.  If you have not read Isaias before, expect to be pleasantly surprised by the number of passages which point to the coming Savior.  And also try to read the first few chapters in the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke.

    This morning’s Gospel introduces us to Saint John the Baptist.  Just think of the great honor accorded Saint John—to have God Himself praise him, and then to have that praise recorded in Sacred Scripture!  In some measure, we can share that praise if we make ourselves like John the Baptist, emulating his humility and detachment from worldly things:  “What did you go out to see?  Those who wear soft garments are in the houses of Kings.”[4]  Our Lord praised John for his detachment from worldly things—something that ought to be a part of our Advent observance.  Our Lord also praised John for preparing His way as He began His public ministry.  Saint John did that through his preaching and his baptism for repentance along the shore of the Jordan River—we can also prepare the way of the Lord by showing the good example of our Christianity to those around us in our daily lives.  Good example may very well be the most powerful form of preaching there is.

    You might also give some thought to the possibility of bringing someone who has fallen away from the Faith to Mass on Christmas or during the Christmas season.  Christmas and Easter are sometimes occasions when you can corral a friend or a visiting relative to come along with you.  (Palm Sunday works well too—people seem to like the idea of getting something!)

    The Gospel also points out that Jesus is, indeed, the one from whom we are waiting during this Advent vigil.  In a sense, we see our Lord “presenting His credentials.”  John’s disciples ask: “Are you the one who is to come, or should be we look for another?”  And our Lord answers by pointing to the miracles that permeate His ministry: “The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, [and even] the poor have the gospel preached to them.”[5]  Our Lord came with power to bring about the redemption of mankind—and the Good News of that redemption is accompanied by a display of that power.

    We are already at the second Sunday of Advent—Christmas will soon be here—so we need, rather quickly, to get about this business of emulating Saint John the Baptist.  Our Lord loves us in spite of our sinful nature and often errant behavior—we can and should read about the love in the pages of Holy Scripture.  We should take great consolation from the fact that our Lord came with the power of Almighty God to arrange for our salvation and to offer the same gift to all who are willing to receive it.  Remember that He wants us to pay more attention to the spiritual life, and less to the ways of the world.  Remember that He wants us to prepare His way into the hearts of men and women through our good example of a holy life.



[1]   Epistle:  Romans xv:4-13.

[3]   Malachias i: 11.

[4]   Gospel:  Matthew xi: 2-10.

[5]   ibid, v. 3 and 5.


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