2nd Sunday of Advent-Cycle C-2009 Baruch 5:1-9
Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever: wrapped in the cloak of justice from God, bear on your head the miter that displays the glory of the eternal name. For God will show all the earth your splendor: you will be named by God forever the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship. Up, Jerusalem! Stand upon the heights; look to the east and see your children gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God. Led away on foot by their enemies they left you: but God will bring them back to you borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones. For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and gorges be filled to level ground, that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God. The forests and every fragrant kind of tree have overshadowed Israel at God’s command; for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Brothers and sisters: I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: 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, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
Gospel Cycle Cycle C
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the desert: “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.”
Advent is such a joyful time as we wait for God in our world and in our lives. We sense this joy in the first two readings for today, from the Prophet Baruch and from the Letter to the Philippians.
Baruch tells us that Jerusalem will be named by God the peace of justice. Baruch looks into the future, much as we might, and longs for that time when there is peace because justice rules throughout all the earth. If we are not longing for such a time, then it will be difficult for us to understand the dreams and longings of the exiled people of Israel.
Advent is a time to renew our longings. We can desire God’s presence in our lives and desire a good life for ourselves and for others. We can hope for cures for all the deadly diseases of our time. We can all desire a better economy for ourselves and for others. We can desire that all children who suffer will be freed from their suffering and know peace, joy and delight. These types of hopes and desires help us understand the longing of our spiritual ancestors to return to their own land and worship their own God.
Baruch looks into the future and sees that day and rejoices in it. He imagines Jerusalem as once more the center of the world and filled with people who love God. How different our own world would be if each one of us yearned for God, sought God with all heart and soul and sought always to help others.
The Letter to the Philippians tells us of the author’s yearning for the good of those who have become followers of Jesus. He wants them to be able to discern what is truly of value. Again we can ponder how different our world would be if everyone longed only for those realities that truly have value!
Finally in Luke’s Gospel today we have the voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths! All of the longing and yearning is not so that each of us will be personally saved but more that together our world will be saved and all its inhabitants. On one hand this seems a foolish yearning and longing and one that will never happen. On the other hand it is surely the longing and yearning of the heart of Jesus Christ. May our hearts be one with His in this time of Advent and may His Divine Mercy draw the world to Himself.