Second Sunday of Advent

Fr. Ike Udoh, SJ

Second Sunday of Advent

Bar 5:1-9/Phil 1:4-6, 8-11/Lk 3:1-6

“Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever; wrapped in the cloak of justice from God (Baruch 5:1-2).”  Something big is on the horizon.  A huge shift is about to take place.  God is about to do something new for you.  Are you ready for it?    Your life may be weighed down with mourning and misery, you may feel down and, in the dumps, you may be surrounded by your enemies.  “Up Jerusalem!  Stand upon the heights; rejoice that you are remembered by God (Baruch 5:5).”  Today, God wants us to understand and experience the great things that God has done for us; to understand what salvation means so that our hearts may be guarded by his peace.  Our insecurities, fears and anxieties come from keeping our eyes on the storms that surround us, and what a storm the people of God faced in the time of Baruch.  There was mourning, misery, and enemies surrounding them.  The life that they had imagined, was not what they were seeing.  They were once nobodies, enslaved and without hope.  But God saved them from Egypt, and after 40 years of desert wanderings, they settled into the land of Canaan.  Years later, David established them as a kingdom, and his son Solomon built a Temple to the Lord, and it seemed like life was made.  All God promised them had come to pass.  Except that they forgot to trust and obey the one who saved them, and (in the time of Baruch the prophet) Babylon came and destroyed the Temple, and led them away on foot, out of their own land, far away from all they knew to a foreign land.   Are there times you look at your life and think how did I get here?  How is it that I feel so lost?  How is it that I am bound by the chains of addiction?  How did I open myself to such pain and heartache? How is it that tears have become my bread day and night? [Think of our brothers and sisters at the border; homeless men and women; brothers and sisters in prison]. Baruch and John the Baptist are voices crying out into our desert experience.  The Lord is coming for you.  You will see the salvation of our God.  As the Lord did with the captives in Egypt, so will he do for you now.  As the Lord did for the captives of Zion, so will he do now.  The psalm says, “When the Lord God brought back the captives from Zion, we were like men dreaming.  Then our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing (Psalm 126:1-2).”  Something big is on the horizon!  Help and salvation is on the way. Are you ready for it?

There is an expiration date to your mourning and misery because the light came into the world to save us from being lost, he comes now to save us, he will come again for those who eagerly await him.  Advent is our invitation to wait in joyful hope for his coming, to prepare the way of the Lord in response to Baruch and John the Baptist prophetic call. They cry out into our desert experiences, into our anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. “Comfort my people! Speak tenderly to Jerusalem proclaim that her hard service is over, her sin has been paid for.”  In Isaiah 40, it continues, And I said, “What shall I cry? All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God endures forever.”  The good news for us who wither and fade is that the power of God, the glory of God, the word of God that endures forever, is coming to dwell with us.  Emmanuel!  He comes (Today) to dwell in his Temple which you are.  The question is, will he find a place to lay his head in your heart?  Have we allowed our Temple to be a marketplace, a house of all kinds of exchanges of wishes, of trade with everything else except in what matters to the Lord?  Have we allowed it to be overtaken by idols, to be desecrated and defiled?  Has the light in our heart been blown out, and our temple sunk into deep darkness of fear, shame, loneliness, or despair? Where are you?   A voice cries out, “Prepare the way of the Lord. For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and gorges be filled to level ground, that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.  “Awaken us!  Help us shed our clothing of mourning. Help us shake off our misery. Show your splendor in glorious robes. Give us a new name, O Jesus. Please give us the name Peace (Anne Osdeick).” Help us prepare a fitting dwelling place for our glorious guest who comes to visit us.

“Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever; wrapped in the cloak of justice from God (Baruch 5:1-2).”  Something big is on the horizon.  A huge shift is about to take place.  God is about to do something new for you.  Are you ready for it?    Your life may be weighed down with mourning and misery, you may feel down and, in the dumps, you may be surrounded by your enemies.  “Up Jerusalem!  Stand upon the heights; rejoice that you are remembered by God (Baruch 5:5).”  Today, God wants us to understand and experience the great things that God has done for us; to understand what salvation means so that our hearts may be guarded by his peace.  Our insecurities, fears and anxieties come from keeping our eyes on the storms that surround us, and what a storm the people of God faced in the time of Baruch.  There was mourning, misery, and enemies surrounding them.  The life that they had imagined, was not what they were seeing.  They were once nobodies, enslaved and without hope.  But God saved them from Egypt, and after 40 years of desert wanderings, they settled into the land of Canaan.  Years later, David established them as a kingdom, and his son Solomon built a Temple to the Lord, and it seemed like life was made.  All God promised them had come to pass.  Except that they forgot to trust and obey the one who saved them, and (in the time of Baruch the prophet) Babylon came and destroyed the Temple, and led them away on foot, out of their own land, far away from all they knew to a foreign land.   Are there times you look at your life and think how did I get here?  How is it that I feel so lost?  How is it that I am bound by the chains of addiction?  How did I open myself to such pain and heartache? How is it that tears have become my bread day and night? [Think of our brothers and sisters at the border; homeless men and women; brothers and sisters in prison]. Baruch and John the Baptist are voices crying out into our desert experience.  The Lord is coming for you.  You will see the salvation of our God.  As the Lord did with the captives in Egypt, so will he do for you now.  As the Lord did for the captives of Zion, so will he do now.  The psalm says, “When the Lord God brought back the captives from Zion, we were like men dreaming.  Then our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing (Psalm 126:1-2).”  Something big is on the horizon!  Help and salvation is on the way. Are you ready for it?

There is an expiration date to your mourning and misery because the light came into the world to save us from being lost, he comes now to save us, he will come again for those who eagerly await him.  Advent is our invitation to wait in joyful hope for his coming, to prepare the way of the Lord in response to Baruch and John the Baptist prophetic call. They cry out into our desert experiences, into our anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. “Comfort my people! Speak tenderly to Jerusalem proclaim that her hard service is over, her sin has been paid for.”  In Isaiah 40, it continues, And I said, “What shall I cry? All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God endures forever.”  The good news for us who wither and fade is that the power of God, the glory of God, the word of God that endures forever, is coming to dwell with us.  Emmanuel!  He comes (Today) to dwell in his Temple which you are.  The question is, will he find a place to lay his head in your heart?  Have we allowed our Temple to be a marketplace, a house of all kinds of exchanges of wishes, of trade with everything else except in what matters to the Lord?  Have we allowed it to be overtaken by idols, to be desecrated and defiled?  Has the light in our heart been blown out, and our temple sunk into deep darkness of fear, shame, loneliness, or despair? Where are you?   A voice cries out, “Prepare the way of the Lord. For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and gorges be filled to level ground, that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.  “Awaken us!  Help us shed our clothing of mourning. Help us shake off our misery. Show your splendor in glorious robes. Give us a new name, O Jesus. Please give us the name Peace (Anne Osdeick).” Help us prepare a fitting dwelling place for our glorious guest who comes to visit us.