Call to repentance
TODAY is Sunday, December 8, 2019. It is the second Sunday of the last month of the year and is the2nd Sunday of Advent.
This Sunday’s Psalm is, “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.”
The 1st Reading is from Isaiah 11:1-10. It says:
From the stump of Jesse a shoot will come forth; from his roots a branch will grow and bear fruit.
The spirit of the root will rest upon him --- a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and power, a spirit of knowledge and fear of Yahweh.
Not by appearances will he judge, not by what is said must he decide, but with justice, he will judge the poor and with righteousness decide for the meek.
Like a rod, his word will strike the oppressor, and the breath of his lips slays the wicked.
Justice will be the girdle of his waist, truth the girdle of his loins.
The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will rest beside the kid, the calf and lion cub will feed together and a little child will lead them.
Befriending each other, the cow and the bear will see their young ones lie down together.
Like cattle, the lion will eat hay. By the cobra’s den, the infant will play. The child will put his hands into the viper’s lair. No one will harm or destroy over my holy mountain, for as water fills the sea the earth will be filled with the knowledge of Yahweh.
On that day the “Root of Jesse” will be raised as a signal for the nations. The people will come in search of him, thus making his dwelling place glorious.
The 2nd Reading for the day is from Romans 15:4-9. And we know, that whatever is written in the past, was written for our instruction, for both perseverance and comfort, given us by the Scripture, sustain our hope. May God, the source of all perseverance and comfort, give to all of you, to live in peace with Christ Jesus; that you may be able to praise, in one voice God, Father of Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Welcome, then, one another, as Christ welcomed you for the glory of God. Look, Christ put himself at the service of the Jewish world, to fulfill the promises made by God to their ancestors: here you see God’s faithfulness. The pagans, instead, gave thanks to God for his mercy, as Scripture says: Because of that, I will sing and praise your name among the pagans.
Today’s Gospel is from Mathew 3:1-12.
In the course of time, John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea, and began to proclaim his message. “Change your ways; the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was about him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice is shouting in the desert, “Prepare a way for the Lord; make his paths straight!”
John had leather garment around his waist and wore a cloak of camel’s hair; his food was locusts and wild honey. People came to him from Jerusalem, from all Judea and from the whole Jordan valley, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan, as they confessed their sins.
When he saw several Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he baptized, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who told you that you could escape the punishment that is to come? Let it be seen that you are serious in your conversion, and do not think: We have Abraham for our father. I tell you, that God can raise children for Abraham from these stones! The ax is already laid to the roots of the trees; any tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire.
I baptize you in water for a change of heart, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I am; indeed, I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He has the winnowing fan in his hand and he will clear out his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff, he will burn in the inextinguishable fire.”
READ: “Produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance.”
REFLECT: What is paramount in our readings for the second Sunday of Advent is the call to repentance. However, repentance is just a word. It will have no meaning if it remains to be a word. Thus repentance must have some tangible things to show.
NB: Our thanks to the Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc., publisher of the book 2019 Bible Diary from where we source the Word of God that we share with our fellow faithful.