Homily 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Baruch 5:1-9; Ps 126:1-6; Phil 1:4-6, 8-11 and Luke 3:1-6
Counting our Blessings in Advent
The readings of today continue to remind us of the place of Advent in our lives. It is a season that we are all reminded of what God has done for us in the past, what God is doing for us now and what God will continue to do for us in the future. In Advent, we live again those promises of ancient hopes.
Baruch in the first reading offers words of encouragement to Israel in exile in view of their eventual liberation and return: He says;
“Jerusalem take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory of God forever….the forest and every fragrant kind of tree have overshadowed Israel at God’s command; for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.”
This message of hope is intensified by Psalm 126. Verses 1-3 says,
“When the lord brought back the captives of Jerusalem, Zion, it was like a dream, then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tough with joy. Then they said among themselves the Lord has done great things for them, the Lord has done great things for us.”
Clearly, true message of lament and song of joy, gratitude to what God has done for them in the past- the liberation from exile. In verse 4, he restores their fortunes, their well- being, brings them peace. In remaining verses Israel looks at the past, plead restoration and continues blessings and protection in the future:
“Restore our fortunes, O lord, like the torrents in the Negev desert. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. Although they shall go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, they shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves”(vv 4-6).
Israel hope, our hope, the hope of he Church will never be in vain. This is why Paul says to the Church in Philippi; “I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day till now. I am confident this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ,” (Phil 1:4-6, 8-11). That same Jesus was earlier foretold by Israel’s prophets- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Zephaniah, down to John the Baptist (Luke 3:1-6).
Like Israel and the early church Advent is a time we could settle down and count our blessings- life, family, children, husbands, friend dad and mom, jobs, good of mind and body, name them. Advent is time we also want to bring our remaining “misfortunes” illness and other forms of brokennesses to God. There is on own without some set-backs in life. We want to bring this set back to Christ.
Our future is also clouded with some level of uncertainties: what will be the nature and the final impact of the hurricane, the result of my examination, I hope there wouldn’t much traffic on the road, no accident no unforeseen illnesses, no divorce; I hope the initial joy of that honeymoon will last. It is under such uncertainties and many more that we need to surrender ourselves more and more under the ambiance of hope, love, faith and of Christ Jesus whom we expect at Christmas and in the parousia. In other words, our past, present and future all belongs to Jesus.