Homily for the second Sunday of advent, year B

This morning we hear the beginning or the opening of the gospel of Mark, it introduces the two great figures of the New Testament; John the Baptist and Jesus Christ the Lord.

The angel Gabriel announced the coming of Jesus as a baby, the incarnation of God. But John introduced the adult Jesus as the Lamb of God. The prophet Isaiah had prophesied about the coming of the Lord, and the voice that will cry in the desert. He said as we read in our first reading this morning that A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, let every cliff become plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

John’s voice was heard in the wilderness, he called the people back into the wilderness for a renewal, to their very beginning. John the Baptist did not preach in any synagogue, he did not put on the regalia of a Rabi but wore a garment of camel-hair with a leather belt round his waist and preached in the wilderness. The wilderness or the desert was the place the people of Israel were trained to love and obey God, it was in the wilderness they first encountered the power and presence of God in a way they had never seen it, and it was in the wilderness they went into a convent with God. They broke that convent after God had re-settled them in the Promised Land, so John the Baptist today in our gospel reading calls the people back to the wilderness to renew their convent with God, to go back to the desert and retrace their steps to see where they slipped away from God. That is exactly what St. Peter tells us in our second reading this morning, not to be deceived that there is time; he says, There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.

The season of advent is for us Christians, the new Israel, to go back and retrace our steps. You and I were not trained in the desert, so there is no need going into the wilderness but to that baptismal fount where we first encountered Jesus and renounced the devil. Just as John the Baptist called the people back into the desert to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, so also the Church calls all her children this season to a sober reflection and repentance in preparation for the commemoration of the birth of Christ. The advent season is an opportunity for us once again to be renewed in Christ Jesus, to renew our baptismal promises because in so many ways we have contaminated our baptismal consecration, hence the need to go back to the baptismal fount to be renewed in preparation for the celebration of Christmas and the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Even though the advent season is a celebration of hope, waiting for God to fulfil what he promised, St. Peter however warns in our second reading to do our best to remain spotless. He says, So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.

As we continue to pray and prepare ourselves for the commemoration of the great mystery of the incarnation this advent season, I pray God to give us the spirit of repentance to enable us receive Christ worthily into our lives afresh. Amen.

 

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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