Reflection: Second Sunday of Advent

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Is.11:1-10; Ps.71; 2nd Reading – Rom.15:4-9; Gospel – Mt.3:1-12]

“… CLOSE AT HAND”

This week, as we continue with our journey through Advent, we are introduced to another important figure: John the Baptist. We are told that he appeared “in due course”, that he “preached in the wilderness” and his message was to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven was close at hand”. We are also told that the prophet Isaiah had spoken of John, calling him “A voice in the wilderness”. We are then told that “Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him” to be baptised while confessing their sins. John must have been a hit to have all these people (literally ‘everyone’!) going to him. We are told that even “a number of Pharisees and Sadducees” went to him to be baptised. John was seen as a Prophet and being considered as that voice in the wilderness, he was seen as the one who announces the will of God as with all the other Old Testament Prophets. Being a Prophet meant that he had a message to announce: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.” John’s message is very similar to that of other Prophets. It is the same as that which Jesus himself will later announce when he starts his public life.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees who were there must have felt a touch of uneasy nervousness in John’s presence. But still, even though John calls them “Brood of vipers”, he continues to tell them that if they are repentant, they must produce the appropriate fruit. What is this appropriate fruit that John is referring to? The Pharisees and the Sadducees must not presume anything and they must produce good fruit because if not, they will end up just like the trees which do not produce good fruit i.e. they will be axed down from the roots and thrown on the fire – because they will not be good for anything else. However, with all this in mind, John is still ready to baptise them if they are true in their repentance.

John then continues to mention Jesus as the one who is to follow him: (1) Jesus is “more powerful” than John and John himself “is not fit to carry his sandals”; (2) Jesus “will baptise with the Holy Spirit and Fire”; and (3) Jesus “is ready to enter in action”.

This is how John “Prepared a way for the Lord” and “made his paths straight”. John seems to be telling “everyone”: Even though you come to me because you have seen an extraordinary man, a Prophet, in me, you must make your way to Him, Jesus, the one who is coming after me… because he is greater than I am in every way!

“Lord, help us to repent and in doing so recognise you in our life to be able to follow you. Thank you Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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