New Heaven and new earth
Readings: Is 40, 1-5.9-11; Ps 85, 11-12.13-14; 2 Pt 3, 8-14; Mk 1,1-8
The word of God for the 2nd Sunday of Advent presents to us the vision that God has for His creation, namely, to create everything new. Whereas we are preparing ourselves for the celebration of the Lord’s nativity, we ought to contemplate His coming as a coming of renewal. It is our task now to remove all the obstacles in the way and allow Him to renew us.
A voice in the deserted areas
Advent has meaning when we recognize that Christ became a man of his people and of his time. The mystery of Christ being in history invites us to celebrate the amazing grace of God that brings about the new heavens and the new earth. We look at the solidarity of the Son of God with humanity in all its brokenness, pain and affliction. This being with the humans is the way to a renewed humanity. Isaiah encourages us to listen to the voice crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord in the desert!” The experience of the covid-19 and other diseases at times make the world look like a desert. The episodes of violence and hatred threaten to make our world a wasteland. It is in such concrete situations that we are to listen to this voice so that Christ may have access to us. Yes. A straight way must be made in our communal and personal wastelands. The landscaping metaphor applies to nations, communities but more so to individuals. We ought to look at the valleys (deficiency in the virtues) of our lives. These must be filled. Mountains and hills that have grown in our relationships must be levelled. Obstacles of pride, arrogance and self-righteousness must be flattened so that we have a plain that is easy to navigate. If we do this then we shall be able to celebrate Christmas in the right sense. Then we shall sing glory to God in the highest heavens, for we shall have peace on earth which is the reflection of the same glory or beauty of God. Advent is the opportunity to live our desire to make the rough places in our community and personal lives so that the Lord may have an open walk into our lives. May the Lord show us those rough places!
Renewed people for a renewed earth
The messenger John the Baptizer was the voice that called people to repentance for the forgiveness of sins. It is interesting to note that he didn’t preach in the temple but in the desert. He didn’t want to succumb to the dictates of the systems and establishments which he deemed to be in need of change. The people of his time responded positively. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him. His preaching seems to have touched the nerve of the people. They acknowledged their sins and let themselves be baptized in the Jordan. This was the beginning of a journey of transformation which would culminate in the baptism with the Spirit. He referred to Christ as the Mightier one; the Lamb of God coming to take away sins. Advent has a penitential character, for it offers us an opportunity to think about our sins and our dire need of a Savior from them. Advent will have an effect in us if we spend some good time in self-examination. Only renewed people can guarantee a renewed earth. Let us allow grace transform us!
Concrete signs of Advent
In today’s first reading, Isaiah invites us to comfort God’s people. This we do not only by heralding the good news that God loves them, but also by being the new human beings that our society needs in order to organize the world according to God’s heart. Advent calls us to discover the face of Christ in each brother or sister we greet, in each beggar who asks for food, in each worker who claims his/her just pay. Let us remember that whatever we do to these, we do for Christ (Mt 25). In this way we are not only awaiting new heavens and a new earth, but we are concretely living the reality of God’s vision for the world. In this way we are loving and awaiting Christ. In addition to the works of charity, may each one of us, in one’s area of influence, work for honesty, integrity and a violence-free environment! May the King of Peace come and teach us peace!