Homily for the second Sunday of Advent - Year A - Mt. 3:1-12
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, «Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.» For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, «The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.» Now John wore a garment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
 
" But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, «You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, «Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.» For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, «The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.» (Is. 40:3) "
 
For a week, we have been preparing ourselves for the feast of Christmas. Soon, we will remember the birth of Jesus, as we await his Return at the end of time. Now Saint Matthew, whose gospel we read this year, speaks to us more of the Return of the Lord than of his birth. This is to be expected. Indeed, why be focused on the birth of Christ? If it were necessary for Christ to be born once again, this would mean that we would still be waiting for the Redemption and that we would not be already resurrected, at least in hope, with Christ...
 
Jesus has already been born, and we await his Return! This is already the attitude of John the Baptist. For the Precursor of Christ did not announce the birth of Jesus, but rather his coming among men: he revealed to Israel He who was already there! John the Baptist is the model of the Church who reveals to the entire world the presence of He who is already there, among men, through and in the Church. John the Baptist announces to all Israel that the Messiah is there, in his people, just as the Church announces to the entire world the presence of the Mystery she bears within her, thanks to the Holy Spirit!
 
" But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, «You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.» "
 
Everyone must be resurrected! Everyone must change! The old man must disappear and be replaced by the new Man! "Repent," says John the Baptist. "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight," cried Isaiah. For the true way, which is Christ, must finally appear in the light of day, in order to provide free access to the Father! "I tell you," says John the Baptist, "God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham." For these inanimate stones are called to become "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5)! "Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees," for the figure and the symbol must give way to the perfect reality: the tree, which is the sign of men (cf. Mk. 8:22-26 - see also the homily for the 31st Sunday, year 2004), must be cut and separated from its roots, which are those of sin, in order for it to find new life in the hands of the carpenter of Nazareth (cf. Mk. 6:3)!
 
" «I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.» "
 
We have already been baptized in water. Now we await our baptism in the Spirit and fire. Now, this fire is already there, with the Spirit, ever since the day of Pentecost. And we have received it on the day of our confirmation in the faith. This fire is that of the Light, the light that all of us are called to be: "You are the light of the world!" (Mt. 5:14) We are fire and light in the Spirit! We must bring light to the world, we must be baptized in light and in fire, we must bear witness to our faith, before the eyes of all, until we are baptized in the Blood of Christ!
 
May the Most Holy Mother of God, who is the powerful Virgin of the Nativity, help us to prepare ourselves well for the coming of her Son into our everyday life!
 

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