2nd Sunday of Advent year ’A’ 2edimanche de l’Avent année ’A’

“He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
Sunday 16 October 2016

Is.11,1-10 Ps.71 Rm.15,4-9 Mt.3,1-12

2nd Sunday of Advent year ’A’

"In due course John the Baptist appeared; he proclaimed this message in the desert of Judaea ’Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close a hand.  John was the man spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said :  ’A voice of one that cries in the desert, ’prepare a way for the Lord, make his path straight.’ This man John wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather loin-cloth round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey."   The Precursor of Jesus leads us into the desert, addressing an invitation to us to be converted. The insistence is upon the Word of God. John the Baptist chose to go right into the desert to preach. Arid hillsides, whitened by the sun, calling to silence, to solitude. And so all those who would hear him had to break with facility and take to the road : ’Convert’, he proclaimed. Conversion is a spiritual programme for life, a return to God, and this lasts a whole lifetime. It is all about a pilgrimage of love taking us back to God and thus creating peace and joy. If we convert it is because ’the Kingdom of God is here’. The kingdom of God is the accomplishment of this plan of salvation, a kingdom of Love. The Messiah is very near, his encounter is a life time matter, a road not to be refused. “Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But hen he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said tot hem ’Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming retribution?” Baptist’s message places the whole of life in the wake of the great prophet Isaiah. He inaugurates new times : God is going to deliver his people from all forms of slavery. Instead of producing works of death we need to produce a fruit which expresses our conversion. God wants concrete acts which engage the whole of man’s self. Faith has to be purified of all quest for facility.  The true children of God are those whose faith and commitment in God’s plan are all-embracing. The new times are for a new humanity, linked to the Divine Source of the life of God’s Love. A world of beauty and harmony can be born.  ’On him will rest the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and of discernment, a spirit of council and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear.’  This is what is said of Jesus. We ask for the courage to go down into our deserts. “Do not presume to tell yourselves : ’We have Abraham as our father’, because I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones.” Through the Sadducees and the Pharisees we are questioned by the Precursor. We too, threatened by routine and our returns to God, remain always fleeting moments. We are likely to be secured by religious gestures or by ideas that defend us. Now we have to bear fruit through a real conversion of heart and of intelligence.  John comes and sweeps away all our slowness, all our laziness, all our poor excuses. Everything that is opaque to grace, everything that makes us deaf and blind, the fire of the Spirit will carry it away because he comes to purify us. The Holy Spirit is going to transform us into his own flame, God’s flame which gives warmth and light to the world. Following John the Baptist, we accept to be true before life’s difficulties. Christ Jesus is going to clothe us with Himself, giving his Life to us. As Mary entered into divine life so as to become the child of the Father, in tenderness and love, in becoming a child of our Father, we build up the community. We establish links of love between us that nothing nor anyone will be ale to break. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to us so that we may remain vigilant. We ask for the grace for us to be converted so that our life be more and more faithful to Jesus.