Second Sunday of Advent (C)

As you notice our three readings this Sunday focus on preparing the way of the Lord but in terms of a radical change of heart. Saint Paul in the second reading urges us to be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, and the Gospel reading is much more direct: prepare the way of the Lord, a call that involves a complete change of heart from sin to the practice of virtue. Such a radical redirection signifies walking with God in a new way.  Is it possible por each of us?

The Gospel of today begins with quite a solemn introduction: In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea and Herold was tetrarch of Galilee... something spectacular is about to take place. That sounds like the introduction of the birth of Jesus, but it is not. What is to happen however is an announcement: the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. So, the central message of John is a request an invitation for conversion, a radical change of heart, a call to turn away from selfishness and sin. In doing so we open our hearts to God's grace, or what is the same, straightening the paths of the Lord.

Straighten the road is a very popular image, it is easy to understand, so Advent season challenges us to realize that we we must have a straight path, a path where there will be temptations, no doubt, but temptations that can be overcome with the help of God, so that we come to Mass on Sundays, to be stronger.

So, what is the message of this Sunday? First. This Advent you and I are challenged to undergo a sincere and genuine conversion of heart, a radical return to our baptismal commitment to walk with God in a new way; to leave some of our old habits and customs to live closer to the Lord.

Second. We are challenged to be today’s John the Baptist, proclaiming a message of repentance and forgiveness.

Third. Such a message could be transmitted through ordinary little things we do to others: a call to someone who is experiencing hard times; a stop by the hospital or life care home; a smile at someone… The spirituality of the Catholic Church has always taught us that God is in the small details of every day. Our Christian life is like a rug, a rug  made of small knots, small things. At the end of the day the only important thing is te be pleasing to God and Him only, nothing else matters!

So what we do in these days of Advent? (and we are in the second week already!!); how can we prepare our hearts for the Lord? Am I thinking of making a good confession? Am I be able and open to begin to talk to someone with whom I have been angry?

The Virgin Mary is close to giving birth to the Savior of the world. She knows a lot of love, of tenderness, of forgiveness. If we approach the Virgin Mary with confidence, for sure she will help us to fully understand our hearts the spirit of Advent ■

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris