2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

December 4, 2022


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Mass Readings Explained

Hearers of the Word

The Word Proclaimed Institute

Working with the Word

Integral Faith

Agape Bible


courtesy of Larry Broding


MT 3:1

This passage is full of imagery from the Hebrew Scriptures. “In those days” echoed Judges 18:1 and Daniel 10:2. The phrase indicated indefinite time, similar to beginning a story with “Once upon a time.”
“John the Baptist came” Again the verb “came” was indefinite. It indicated appearance more than arrival.
“preaching in the desert…” The desert was an image of the Exodus, the place of intimacy between God and his people. Even though the desert was full of danger, it had the allure of retreat and reflection for the prophets. The Essence community, contemporaries of John and Jesus, set their roots in the desert above the Dead Sea.
Taken together, this verse evoked the image of the wilderness prophet, God’s man who appear to deliver his message in a place of intimacy with the divine.

MT 3:2

The phrase “the kingdom of heaven” is the same as “the Kingdom of God.” In inferred God’s reign over his people. But, what did Jesus mean when he said it was near? There are several possibilities:
1) God was actively preparing to begin his reign. The end was near.
2) God was working one-on-one with each individual listener. Taken with the command to “reform,” the listener opened his head and heart to the Good News, the first announcements of the Kingdom.
3) God’s blessings were already present. In the process of repenting, the sinner only needed to look and see God working in his or her life.
4) God prepared his people to enter the Kingdom. The call of John to repent was an invitation to prepare for a communal nature of his reign. After all, God came to save his people, not just the individual.
Notice, the phrase “the kingdom of heaven” can mean the immanent coming of the end times, the reform of the individual, and/or the experience of the community.

MT 3:3

The prophecy was taken from Isaiah 40:3. Matthew subtly changed the focus of Isaiah from God to the Messiah. In other words, John fulfilled the role of Elijah, who, by popular belief, would come to prepare the people for the Christ.

MT 3:4

John’s clothing echoed Elijah’s in 2 Kings 1:8.

MT 3:7

“Family of snakes” or “Brood of vipers” This strident rebuke equated the leadership in Jerusalem with demonic powers. John placed the leadership on the same level as the serpent in the Garden of Eden! John interpreted the intent of the approaching leaders as insincere and two-faced. Did they come for baptism just to gain the confidence of the people? Or, did the come to undermine John’s ministry?
John’s attitude mirrored the disdain of the Essences for the leadership. It could have also reflected the distrust of the general population toward the mentioned groups.
Used with Permission

Kingdom Come: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday in Advent


2nd Sunday of Advent (A)


2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

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John the Baptist: Precursor to the Messiah


2nd Sunday of Advent (A)


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One who is more powerful than I is coming after me

Advent 2 introduces the seasonal figure of John the Baptist, the prophet who ushered in the ministry of Jesus himself. Jesus was a disciple of John and began his public ministry only when his mentor was arrested. Jesus’ proclamation resembled that of John—repentance/conversion—but the dreadful events predicted by John are replaced by the message of God’s mercy and compassion.


SOURCE: Dr. Kieran J. O’Mahony, OSA

2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

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Commentary on the First Reading, Psalm, and Gospel


2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

Focusing the Gospel

The fire of judgment will destroy those who are fruitless; the fire of the Spirit will help the faithful bear good fruit. Advent is, in the end, about jumping into the fire.

Connecting the Gospel

The misuse of fire, arson, is considered a very heinous crime because it destroys more than property; it is an invasion of personal space. In this gospel John refers to fire as a destructive force but also as a gift that brings personal worth—new Life.

SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University.

To dig deeper and look more closely at this Sunday’s readings, visit the links at right from the Sunday Website at Saint Louis University.


2nd Sunday of Advent (A)


“The Peaceable Kingdom”

SOURCE: Catholic Climate Covenant and the Association of Unites States Catholic Priests

2nd Sunday of Advent (A)


The First Advent of Christ and the Announcement of the Coming of His Kingdom

In the days of the season of Advent, leading up to the celebration of the birth of our Savior, the faithful of Jesus’ Kingdom of the Church not only look back in time to the Savior’s birth but also forward in time, anticipating Christ’s promised return in His Second Advent.  It is an appropriate reflection in preparation for celebrating the birth of the Savior since we not only remember His First Advent when His coming forever altered the course of human history, but we also reflect upon the end of human history when Christ returns in glory to judge the living and the dead.

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)

The Oracle of the Coming of the Davidic Messiah

In the Old Testament, God’s holy prophets foretold the coming of a future Redeemer-Messiah.  As a descendant of the great King David, the people in covenant with God anticipated the Messiah to come as a righteous king to redeem them and all humanity, ushering in a reign of justice for all eternity.  In the First Reading, the 8th century BC prophet Isaiah foretells His coming.  The Messiah, he wrote, will be a descendant of Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David.  He will rule over the covenant people with a charism that comes from God, and He will be a signal for the peoples of the earth.  All nations not in a previous covenant relationship with Yahweh will seek the Davidic Messiah as their Lord, and He will welcome them into the peace of His glorious Kingdom.

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)

Justice and Peace in the Era of the Messianic King

The Responsorial Psalm, attributed to King David, depicts an ideal king and his reign.  The prophetic psalm probably refers to David’s son and the heir of Yahweh’s eternal covenant with the House of David, the great King Solomon.  Jewish tradition, however, has always interpreted this psalm as a description of David’s promised heir, the Davidic Messiah.  The psalmist offers his prayers for the Davidic king and the righteousness of his reign for the people as a whole and especially in securing justice for the poor.

Christian tradition interprets Psalm 72 as a prophecy of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, who is the son and heir of King David and fulfills God’s eternal Davidic covenant.  Jesus’ kingship extends across the earth, as the psalm declares, and it is He who brings universal salvation as the divine Messiah-King to both Jews and Gentiles.  The promise of the ideal Davidic king’s universal rule is the reason the Church uses Psalm 72 in the liturgical calendar for the celebration of the Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, when the Magi, the first Gentiles from the nations of the earth, came to adore baby Jesus, the newborn Davidic king.

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)

The Old Testament Prepared Us for the Advent of the Messiah

In the Second Reading, St. Paul quotes the Old Testament five times in Romans 15:1-13 to make his point that what happened in the First Advent of Christ fulfilled what the prophets wrote in the Old Testament Scriptures.  Paul writes that everything written in the Old Testament is for the instruction of every generation between the Frist and Second Advents of Jesus Christ, those who embrace the New Covenant Kingdom of the Davidic Messiah.

As heirs of Christ, we are also heirs of the promises made to the Patriarchs and heirs of King David’s promised eternal kingdom that is the Church over which Jesus reigns.  It is to us as Christ’s heirs that God displays His faithful love and extends the promise of our rightful inheritance in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)

Prepare for the Coming of the Lord

In the Gospel Reading, St. John the Baptist calls the covenant people to an act of water immersion as a purification ritual in preparation for the coming of the Messianic Era and the new Davidic kingdom.  Ritual immersion as a symbolic act of purification or renewal was familiar to the Jews; however, St. John’s ritual of immersion in the Jordan River for repentance and conversion was unique.  The baptism John offered took on aspects of purification from defilement caused by sin coupled with the one-time ritual conversion experience of Gentile converts.

St. John’s baptism prefigured Jesus’ baptism into death and new life in His crucifixion and Resurrection.  The people who came to repent their sins in St. John’s baptism were turning away from the rebellion of sin and turning back to God in faithful obedience.  Moreover, in one decisive act, they were also turning to a new beginning in preparation for the coming of the Messiah’s Kingdom and their journey to salvation when they would receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as redeemed children in God’s eternal family.

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)

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