Homily-Second Sunday of Advent Year A (2016). Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo· Isa. 11:1-10,
· Ps. 72:1-2,7-8,12-13,17;
· Rom. 15:4-9
· Matt. 3:1-12
Justice and peace shall flourish in his timeThe responsorial Psalm of today, “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever” (Ps 72.7) sets hopeful tone of peace and freedom for today’s scripture lessons. And challenges us to hope. Of course, a tone of hope fulfilled by Christ, the Messiah of Advent, on that day, at that time, – as foretold by all of the Israel’s prophets.
In moments of hopelessness, frustration, seeming injustice of all kinds- in different cultures and forms, pains, and loss of our loved ones or jobs- what do we do? Hope, endurance, trust, patience for that day, the Day of the Lord! It is to such moments that the first reading, Isaiah 11:1-10 points to.
When the Israelites of the 8th century BC were threatened, with war, violence, exile, acts of injustice- the message and the solution was the hope prophesied by Isaiah, that “a shout shall sprout from the stump of Jesse and from its roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord… He shall judge the poor with justice and decides aright for the land afflicted.”
What a spirit of Advent! What a message of Advent? That prophesied by Isaiah came to be in the birth of Christ, heralded by John the Baptist, in today’s Gospel, Matthew 3:1-12. Christ is so unique that John will not even be able to undo the stripe of his sandals. Unlike John, Christ will baptize not with just ordinary water, but with the Holy Spirit- that brings us, all of humanity- peace, joy, oneness, unity, togetherness, good health of mind and body. In fact, it brings us all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, particularly courage.
Of course, it is such courage at least to wait for, hope for, fight for, and persevere for... that moment of the coming, of the advent of the Messiah, that Paul speaks of in the second reading, saying, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ….welcome one another then as Christ welcome you… so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” (Rom 15:4-9).
In our various challenges in life: ill health, poverty, loss of jobs and employment, political instability, bias media, corrupt governments, wars and threats of war, terrorism, violent and divisiveness- Advent invites us to hope. Advent invites us to endure, to forgive, to love, to unite. Advent invites us to listen to the prophets, models of Advent- John the Baptists, Mary, prepare with them, repent and trust in the Lord. Above all, Advent invites us to hope for that day, when justice shall flourish with fullness of peace forever!Reflection Questions:
· How do we react when we feel we have been unjustly treated?
· Can you identify any acts of injustice in your parish community and how to overcome it?
· How can you help generate hope, unity, peace and endurance in this season of Advent in your community?