Advent Week Two - Cycle C
The first reading on the Second Sunday of Advent is from the prophet Baruch and is offering hope that the exile will soon end in mercy and salvation.
“Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever…
During the Babylonian exile the Israelites were forcibly relocated into the Babylonian heartland. There they were pressured to assimilate into this foreign culture where they became disconnected from God. Baruch offers hope to these people that they will eventually be saved and reminds them of God’s mercy and justice.
…for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.” Baruch 5:1-9
In the Gospel of Luke God’s chosen people is again living under the influence of a foreign culture, this time the Roman Empire. Again, God sends a prophet, John the Baptist, to proclaim to the people repentance and the coming of the Savior.
“John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a Baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins... ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
In Baruch and the Gospel of the Luke we are instructed to have faith in the promise of God and prepare for His coming. We can often feel pressure from the culture around us, or fail to feel the presence of God in our own lives. In Advent, we prepare ourselves to receive Jesus by reflecting on God’s mercy and repenting of our sins. St. Paul encourages us on this path by praying in his letter to the Philippians:
“… that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ…” (Philippians 1:9-11)
As we prepare during this second Sunday of Advent Scripture encourages us to:
Reflect on God’s mercy and kindness and consider ways we can be more merciful in our own lives
Repent for our sins
Pray and discern how God calls us, like John the Baptist, to share the good news of Christ’s coming