December 4, 2011 — Second Sunday of Advent
Today’s readings find us in the second week of Advent. We are waiting – waiting to celebrate the incarnation and waiting for the day when Christ will come again. But, as today’s readings remind us, it is not a passive waiting. While we wait, we are called to proclaim the good news, to let others know of the wondrous things God has done and the triumphant return we await.
All three of today’s readings portray a people in waiting, and in all three instances, those who await some divine intervention joyfully anticipate as they actively ready themselves and those around them for what is to come.
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah is looking forward to the end of the Babylonian exile and the subsequent restoration of Israel. The Jewish people had been in exile for quite some time, and the prophet proclaimed the good news, the “glad tidings” that the Lord was soon to intervene, and His people were going to be granted return to the Promised Land.
The reading from Mark’s Gospel is clearly connected to the reading from Isaiah. We even see some of the same verbiage used in the Gospel reading: “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
However, here the prophet is John the Baptist, and, while the prophet Isaiah was preparing for the people’s return to Israel, John the Baptist was preparing for and proclaiming the coming of the Messiah.
Both were proclaiming the good news – God was at work in their midst, and He was about to intervene in a big way, changing the course of history. And both teach us a very valuable lesson. These men were waiting for God’s great actions. They were eagerly anticipating what they knew was to come, and yet, they were actively preparing, proclaiming the Good News to all the world.
We should do the same.
What’s more, the second reading, from 2 Peter reminds us of the eschatological aspect of Advent and, really, of our lives in general. We prepare our hearts to celebrate the great events of Christmas. We focus on the wonder of the incarnation, and, at the same time, we look to the day when Christ will come again. We prepare ourselves, and we wait.
“The day of the Lord will come like a thief,” 2 Peter assures us.
Then, the writer encourages us as we wait: “What sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.”
God is at work in our midst. He has done so many good things, and He has given us so many good gifts. And so, as we wait to celebrate Christmas and wait to greet Him when He comes again, we ought to actively prepare, to proclaim the Good News of all He has done and all He continues to do. As stewards, we ought to use the many gifts He has given us – our time, our talents, and our treasure drawing closer to Him in prayer and preparing ourselves to greet Him when He comes again and proclaiming the Gospel, bringing others closer to Him as well.