9 and 10 December 2017 Second Sunday of Advent B Homily
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Second Peter 3:8-14
Jerusalem as you know has been in the news this week.
It is the one of the Holiest places in the universe for three very important religions.
The “Dome of the Rock” is one of the most easily recognized Buildings in Jerusalem
It is currently the second most holy site of the Muslim faith.
It was completed in 691 CE.
It is built on the site of the Roman temple of Jupiter Capitolinus.
The Roman temple was built on the site of the Second Jewish Temple that was destroyed in 70 CE during the Roman siege of Jerusalem.
The people of Israel, the Christian Faith and Muslims all count Jerusalem as a sacred place.
The scriptures today speak of Jerusalem in terms of where the God of Israel will be found.
Certain Christian Fundamentalist faiths believe the Lord Jesús will come again for one final time precisely in the city of Jerusalem.
We are in our yearly celebration, remembrance and reliving of the first time Jesús came into the world.
We know then of a First coming of Jesús that occurred almost two thousand years ago.
We know of a predicted “Second” and or “final” coming of Jesús at the end of time and/or the end of the world.
Can we really influence the First Coming of Jesús in history that occurred almost two thousand years ago?
Can we really know when the Second and Final coming will take place?
I believe we cannot do much about the first Coming of Jesús.
I do believe, if we listen to the Scriptures today we must do something about the Second and Final Coming of Jesús.
If we listen carefully to the Scriptures we have a few clues about what you and I can do while we “await” the Master’s return.
We can use this time between the first and final coming of Jesús, the letter of Peter tells us, by understanding any “delay” in the Lord’s coming is due to the Lord’s patience.
In other words this time, all time we are given is to be used to make ourselves “ready” for the day of the Lord. The “delay” is a time for us to come to “repentance.”
The word “Repentance” may have a pious ring or inauthentic ring to it but it basically means “a change of heart” or a “new way of thinking”, a “new way of living” and a new way of loving.
The Letter of Peter today suggests our “new way of living” even “hastens” the Day of the Lord’s Return.
In the Gospel John proclaims and insists that we make preparations.
“Prepare the way fo the Lord,
Make straight his paths”
is not a geographical mandate.
The “paths” of the Lord are straightened when we “straighten out” our devious, dishonest, confused ways of avoiding the One who came and is to come again.
John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt about his waist. These clothes were meant to call attention to his message: One mightier than I is coming after me……I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
John “fed on locusts and honey”. Locusts destroyed crops and were a nuisance. Honey was the richest and most satisfying of foods.
John’s clothing and diet may have indicated the One who was coming would demand sacrifice as well as shower good upon those who took not their own path but the path of the One to come.
We hope during this Advent to say with the prophet Isaiah:
“Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD…….
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
And leading the ewes with care.”