Written as an aid for homilists, this doctrinal homily outline for the Second Sunday of Advent (Year A), December 8, 2013, (1) provides insights into the Sunday Lectionary readings, (2) explicates a doctrine of Catholic Faith or morals from them, and (3) shows specific ways lay persons can live these truths. (To read more about this approach, click here.)
Central Idea: Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Doctrine: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Practical Application: Repent and do good.
To view the Lectionary 4 readings, click here.
Central Idea: Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand
Reading 1 Is 11:1-10
- Isaiah prophesizes that a king is coming to restore justice to the earth.
- What is unjust? That the poor are poor; that the afflicted are afflicted; that the ruthless have no pity; that the wicked do evil; that nature is filled with physical evil.
- The fulfillment of this prophecy is Jesus Christ, fruitful descendant of Jesse, the father of King David.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
- How many of us are poor and afflicted? All of us.
- How many of us need to be vindicated by God? All of us.
- How many of us need peace? All of us.
- How many of us need to be in a right relationship with God and all others, to have what we need and want, and to be at peace forever? All of us. These goods are the promise of the kingdom of God.
Reading 2 Rom 15:4-9
- The Old Testament Scriptures are “for our instruction” and can encourage us to persevere in the faith.
- God the Father has given his son Jesus Christ to all humanity through the Jews, so we should welcome everyone into the salvation the Church offers.
Gospel Mt 3:1-12
- John the Baptist’s message was (1) Christ is coming to establish the kingdom of God; (2) You must prepare by repenting from your sins; (3) His judgment will be of ultimate significance to you.
Doctrine: Gifts of the Holy Spirit
- The prophet Isaiah foretold that the Christ, the Son of David (the son of Jesse), would have these gifts of the Holy Spirit:
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. (Is 11:1-3)
- A reading of any one of the Gospels confirms that Jesus Christ possessed and practiced these gifts perfectly. Through Baptism and Confirmation, we ordinary followers of Christ also have these gifts.
- For us, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are permanent habits that make it easy to follow the inspirations the Holy Spirit gives us. They do so by completing and perfecting the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, and the natural and supernatural moral virtues. (CCC 1830-1831)
- The gift of wisdom is a loving knowledge of God and everything that comes from and leads to him.
- Understanding is the power which perfects our perception of the mysteries of the faith, enabling us to penetrate more deeply into the divine truths revealed by God.
- The gift of counsel helps us make wise decisions promptly, correctly, and according to the will of God.
- Fortitude makes us steadfast in the faith, constant in struggle, and faithful in perseverance.
- Knowledge enables us to be wise in using the things of this world.
- The gift of piety teaches us the meaning of divine filiation, the joyful supernatural awareness of being children of God and brothers and sisters of all mankind.
- Fear of the Lord is respect for the all-powerful and loving God.
Practical Application: Repent and do good
- God showers us with gifts of grace so we can bear the kinds of good fruit that John the Baptist demanded. What are some ways we can bear good fruit right now?
- Accepting and embracing our own poverty and afflictions.
- Relieving the poverty and afflictions of others.
- Repenting of all ruthlessness and wickedness in ourselves.
- Showing mercy and doing good.