Saturday, December 03, 2016
2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT
04 December 2016
2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Is 11:1 – 10 / Rom 15: 4 – 9 / Mt 3:1 – 12.
From the 1st Reading: Is 11: 1 – 7a
From the stump of Jesse a shoot will come forth; from his roots a branch will grow and bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him - - a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and power, a Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
Not by appearances will he judge, nor by what is said must he decide, but with justice he will judge the poor and with righteousness decide for the meek. Like a rod, his word will strike the oppressor, and the breath of lips slay the wicked. Justice will be the girdle of his waist, truth the girdle of his loins.
The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will rest with the kid, the calf and the lion cub will feed together and a little child will lead them. Befriending each other, the cow and the bear will see their young ones lie down together,
From the 2nd Reading: Rom 15: 4 – 6
And we know that whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, for both perseverance and comfort given us by the Scripture sustain our hope. May God, the source of all perseverance and comfort, give to all of you to live in peace in Christ Jesus that you may be able to praise in one voice God, Father of Christ Jesus, or Lord.
From the Gospel Reading:Mt 3: 1 – 3; 7 - 8
In the course of time John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea and began to proclaim the message, "Change your ways, the kingdom of God is now at hand!" It was about him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said, "A voice is shouting in the desert: prepare a way for the Lord; make his paths straight:
When he saw several Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he baptized, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who told you that you could escape the punishment that is to come? Let it be seen that you are serious in your conversion."
It seems strange that, when the Pharisees and Sadducees, religious leaders of the Jews, came to John the Baptist for baptism, he rebuked them instead. It seems strange that a preacher or reformer like John the Baptist would strike out like that at people coming for his baptism of repentance. John's baptism represented a new beginning. Yet he lashed out against the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to him: "Brood of vipers! Who told you that you could escape the punishment that is to come? Let it be seen that you are serious in your conversion."
Why was that? John rebuked them because, though like everyone else who came, the Pharisees and Sadducees to repent, they had not come to repent. The Pharisees and Sadducees saw themselves as righteous, as not needing repentance and conversion. They had not come for John's baptism because they felt they needed it; they had no intention of changing the direction of their lives; they were very all right and did not need the repentance and conversion John preached. They came for John's baptism because they wanted to be seen coming for another religious ceremony to be observed,
John knew and saw the hardness of their hearts and did not want to baptize people who did not really believe they needed to change. He reminded them strongly: "Let it be seen that you are serious about your conversion;" change the way you live and show me that you are serious about repentance and conversion.
The Pharisees and Sadducees could not repent because they did not believe they needed it. They could not repent because they saw no need to change. The Pharisees and Sadducees whom John criticized and rebuked remind us of the Lord's parable of the Pharisee and tax collector who went up to pray at the Temple. "The Pharisee stood by himself and said, 'I thank you, God, that I am not like other people, grasping, crooked, adulterous, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all my income to the Temple.' In the meantime the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying: 'O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.' I tell you, when this man went down to his house, he had been set right with God, but not the other." (Lk 18: 11 – 14)
What does this episode with John the Baptist teach us? It tells us to stand humbly before God, leaving behind the pride which separates us from God. It reminds us that each one of us need repentance and conversion that each one of us is not all right just as we are. Our willingness to accept this need is a necessary first step to let God change the direction of our lives.
What is my need for repentance? What parts of my life have been "off-limits" to God? Am I willing to allow God to change my life? The challenge is to let go and let God steer my life, Then we will discover that God can take the broken pieces of my life and make them beautiful. As Jesus himself said in his parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector, "For whoever makes himself out to be great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be raised." (Lk 18: 14b)
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
Emilee A. Tee
Engr. Peter F. Castro
Mar B. Espejo
Have a good day!
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