December 5, 2004
Second Sunday of Advent
Father Jason Koch, LC
the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and
saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
It was of him theat the prophet Isaiah had spoken
when he said: "A voice of one crying out in
the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight
his paths." John wore clothing made of camel´s hair and
a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts
and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and
the whole region around the Jordan were going out to
him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan,
as they acknoledged their sins. When he saw many of
the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said
to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to
flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence
of your repentance. And do not presume to say to
yourselves, ´We have Abraham as our father.´ For I tell
you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these
stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of
the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good
fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the
one who is coming after me is mighter than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing
fork is in his hand, and he will clear his
threshing floor and will gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
Jesus, I come to you in prayer to prepare my
soul to receive you in Holy Communion and make more
room for you in my life. Help me to put
order in my heart and fulfill your will in my
life with love and enthusiasm.
Petition:Lord, make me open
to your presence in my life.
1. A Message Coming from
the Desert. John the Baptist went to the desert in
order to be closer to God. The Israelites learned to
depend on God while in the desert. He gave them
manna and quail to nourish them in their hunger and
from a rock came water to quench their thirst. In
the desert, John the Baptist learned to depend on God,
and through him the cry to repent and make straight
the paths to God would again resound. The four hundred
year silence is broken as God makes known that his
kingdom is at hand. Oftentimes, there are moments in our
lives that seem like a desert, but it is in
these moments that God brings us closer to him. We
should not be afraid of experiencing dryness or difficulties in
prayer because it is then when God helps us trust
more in him.
2. Prepare the Way of the Lord.
God wants to be a part of our lives and
we have to open wide our hearts to him. John
the Baptist inspired numerous conversions because of his powerful spiritual
lifestyle. As part of his desert practice, he spent countless
hours in prayer with God. People listened to him because
his life was clear and spiritual. John’s baptism helped wash
away their old attitudes and ways of thinking. To be
baptized showed their decision to let God in and purify
their hearts. I must not forget that this Advent is
a time to make room for Christ to enter into
my heart. I need him to be a real part
of my life. I have to let go of the
old way of thinking and acting and put on Christ
in a real and visible way. How do I prepare
myself to receive Holy Communion at Mass? I need to
think about who it is that I am about to
3. Producing Good Fruit Is Evidence of Repentance. By
baptism, we are committed to pursue holiness through an identification
with Christ. We collaborate actively with him in his redemptive
mission, contributing our efforts to announce and extend Christ’s Kingdom
here on earth. St Luke says, speaking of the first
members of the Church who were persecuted and forced to
spread out, “Those who had dispersed went about everywhere announcing
the Good News of the Word” (Acts 8:4). It is
my task to preach and extend the Kingdom of Christ
where I am. My basic apostolic task is to give
witness to Christ through an integral and mature living of
the values, ideals and virtues of the Gospel. How do
I witness at home, to my spouse, to my children,
in my work, and in my parish? Do I understand
that my example is powerful? I need to feel the
urgency of fulfilling the mission that Christ has given me
in my particular state in life. When I receive Holy
Communion, I receive the food I need to help me
in my mission.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, you chose to become
like me in order to bring me closer to you.
Help me continue to grow in a prayerful spirit, and
unite me with you so that at the end of
my life I can enjoy your presence, not just under
the veil of the Eucharist, but in person. Lord, reveal
yourself to me.
Resolution: I will take a few more
moments after Mass to give thanks to God for the
gift of the Eucharist.