Central Idea: Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Doctrine: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Practical Application: Repent and do good.
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Central Idea: Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand
Reading 1 Is 11:1-10
On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
but he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
On that day, the root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.
- Isaiah prophesizes that a messiah, 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
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
he shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
- 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
Brothers and sisters:
Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction,
that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.
May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to think in harmony with one another,
in keeping with Christ Jesus,
that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you,
for the glory of God.
For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised
to show God’s truthfulness,
to confirm the promises to the patriarchs,
but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written:
Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles
and sing praises to your name.
- 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 (the Gentiles) through the Jews (the circumcised), so we should welcome everyone into the salvation the Church offers.
Alleluia Lk 3:4, 6
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Gospel Mt 3:1-12
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that 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 had 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 River
as they acknowledged 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 mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
- 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 and doing what is right; (3) His judgment will be of ultimate good or bad significance to you.
- In addition, John taught that a person’s status, however high, would be of no avail in this judgment.
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.
The Homiletic Directory also suggests these Catechism points and themes for the Second Sunday of Advent:
- CCC 522, 711-716, 722: the prophets and the expectation of the Messiah
- CCC 523, 717-720: the mission of John the Baptist
- CCC 1427-29: conversion of the baptized