Second Sunday of Advent
Gospel: Matthew 3: 1-12
We are one week closer to the great celebration of Christmas. We have an introductory speech delivered by John the Baptist welcoming the Messiah for our meditation today. It is indeed a fiery introductory speech. He is asking us to repent and thus prepare ourselves for the imminent arrival of the Kingdom of God. He did not mint words to ask us violently to repent and to prepare for the grant arrival. He looked impatient, and reasonably so.
Repentance is the central theme of the message. To have a meaningful Christmas celebration we ought to repent and mend our ways. Resist the temptation to limit Christmas to lighting, cakes, gifts, wine and merry-making. Resist the temptation to kick Jesus out of the Christmas celebration; the world is trying hard to do so. First and foremost, Jesus be the center of our Christmas.
Jesus is a noble and sensitive guest; He would not step into a place where he is not welcome, and He would not set foot in a place that is not ready for Him. Repentance makes a person ready for Jesus. Are you ready for Jesus?
Nothing makes us ready for Jesus like a good confession. John the Baptist baptized those who came to him confessing their sins, and he asked them to wait for the arrival of the much-anticipated Messiah.
Repentance is not an end in itself; John the Baptist asks them to ‘produce fruit of repentance as evidence’. What is the fruit of repentance? A new life is evidence of repentance. Christmas is the challenge to be an improved self, a better self; reinvent your better self. You were created better, but you got changed; you hardly noticed it. Now is the time to reinvent your best self, irrespective of your role in life. Reinvent the love in you. Reinvent forgiveness, care, and tenderness in you. Reinvent your flair for justice and mercy. In short, reinvent the Jesus in you. Christmas is about finding Jesus inside you than searching for Him elsewhere.
John the Baptist began his intervention telling, “Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When Jesus started preaching used the synonym of the same expression, “Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mt 4:17). When Jesus sent His disciples to preach, He instructed them to preach exactly the same (Mt 10:7). Christmas is a great assurance that the Kingdom where God rules, the kingdom of God, is really close. Swing the door of repentance open and you are inside the Kingdom of God. There is no key, you just need to push, swing it open and enter!
Being in constant touch with Jesus, His beloved mother, and St. Joseph, help us to open the door easily. We can always find them in the pages of the Gospels and in our prayers. They are the best ways to keep in touch with Jesus. Christmas is the time to pray more and to read the Bible more to welcome the Kingdom of God.
This Christmas is an invitation to find Jesus within you, find Jesus within your family and friends, find Jesus in your workplace and find Jesus wherever you go. Indeed, you can find Jesus wherever you are because He did promise that His Kingdom is at hand and you don’t need to run around in search of His kingdom (Mt 24:26). He is always faithful in His promises. Repent and feel Jesus inside you!