2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

December 4, 2022


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During Advent, let us be reconciled with everyone around us, writes Father Hawkswell. “First, let us try hard to identify and correct the faults in ourselves which make it difficult for others to get on with us.” (Erika Giraud/Unsplash)

Altier Bloom Chama Chua Cummins Ekpunobi Fallon
Fleming Hawkswell Holsington Kavanaugh Lane Langeh Lawrence
Pavone Pellegrino Schuster Senior Smiga     

Bishop Robert Barron WORD ON FIRE PODCASTS and featured videos of priests delivering their Sunday Homilies for the 2nd Sunday of Advent (A)


How to Get into the Christmas Spirit

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2022

“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.” 

Homilies Hawkswell

This Sunday’s first reading encapsulates the Christmas spirit: the spirit of peace. “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.”

The world says that the way to “get into the Christmas spirit” is to put up coloured lights and tinsel, to hope for snow, and to give and receive expensive presents. However, St. John the Baptist, sent by God to prepare the world for the very first Christmas, had a different message. “Repent,” he said, “for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.” In particular, be reconciled to those with whom you are not at peace.



The Lion and the Lamb

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2016

If the beautiful vision of Isiah is to be fulfilled, we cannot be discouraged by the smallness of our actions or the limits of our success.

Homilies Smiga

In today’s first reading Isaiah presents his grand vision of the Kingdom of God. In this peaceable kingdom the poor will be judged with justice and violence will end. Wild animals will coexist peacefully with domestic animals. The lion will lay down with the lamb. Woody Allen has commented on this passage. What he says is this: “When the lion lays down with the lamb, the lamb doesn’t get much sleep.” This is Allen’s way of stating what is already obvious to us. Isaiah’s peaceful kingdom is very different from the world in which we live. In our world the poor are often judged unjustly and violence erupts in the wars of many nations, in our streets, and sometimes in our homes. The difference between Isaiah’s words and our experience can lead us to dismiss Isaiah’s vision as pious dreaming. But that would be to misunderstand its purpose. Isaiah describes a perfect world in order to reveal what God intends. Isaiah wants us to remember that our God is a God who is eternally opposed to all that is unjust, violent or evil. Our God wants to change things, and God calls us to participate in the elimination of evil from our world.

More Homilies from Fr. Smiga

  • Advent and the Fat Lady– December 5, 2004
  • Following Christ Today – December 9, 2007
  • The Diet of the Baptist– December 5, 2010
  • Fruit and Fire – December 8, 2013
  • Finding Our Emptiness – December 8, 2019



A Gift for Each of Us this Christmas

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2016

In the Eucharist Jesus gives us himself, with all his love – because he truly is the Giver who keeps on giving….

Homilies Concord Pastor

So, what do you think you’re getting for Christmas this year? —  not what you’re getting for others — but on Christmas morning, what do you think you might find under the tree, tagged for you? Maybe you won’t have a tree. Perhaps you no longer exchange gifts with others or have others with whom to exchange gifts… Maybe you’re the kind of person who tells others,

 “Don’t get me anything for Christmas – I don’t need a thing!” Or if you’re a young person, it could be that you have a whole list of things  you think – or at least you hope you’re getting for Christmas. Well, suppose on Christmas morning you wake up and find this gift under the tree with a tag that reads:

“For you – from Jesus.”

A Christmas gift from Jesus to you? I know at this time of year I usually caution us to remember that it’s HIS birthday and he should get the presents – not us. And while I’m not changing my mind on that, I will add this: Jesus just might have a gift for you and me, for each of us.



The Path that Leads to Peace

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2022

The path that leads to peace begins with the acknowledgement of sins and forgiveness. 


The readings of this second Sunday of advent remind us of the needful, namely the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The joy of Christmas hinges on the heart that is void of resentment and bitterness. The infant saviour was born for the sole mission of reconciling the world. The commemoration of Christmas must involve the act of forgiveness that leads to peace.

The first reading outlined the unique peace that accompanies Christmas. According to it; Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The justice of the Lord will guarantee this unique peace. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

The coming of the Lord which is the advent theme, involves the preparation of confession of sins. We are invited to rid ourselves of every form of obstacle that shield the heart from experiencing peace and gladness. May we have the grace to acknowledge and confess our sins in order to be worthy of welcoming the infant saviour.



Handel and the Admonition to Prepare, Not Presume

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2022

Entitlement is the way of the selfish. Sacrifice is the way of the Christian.


Among the alarming list of human foibles is the concept of entitlement. It seems that many people feel they are entitled to something or other for no valid reason. Recently someone told me that he has a right to work, even though he is incapable of holding a job. A religious sister once told me that I should fire one of our finest employees and hire her since she was a religious. A deacon once met with me and informed me that I had to give him a full time job because he was a deacon. A few years ago there were riots in Paris because young workers felt that their employers did not have the right to fire them even if they didn’t perform their responsibilities according to their work agreement or even if they didn’t show up to work. Many parents complain that their children feel entitled to have a car when they reach driving age, feel entitled to stay out late regardless of the rules of the house, etc.



Embracing and Living the Truth

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2022

What good is it to proclaim faith in Jesus if we refuse to live it?  We need to repent, but words are not enough.  We need to show good fruit as evidence of our repentance.  


In the first reading today, we hear about a shoot that will sprout from the stump of Jesse.  Jesse, recall, was the father of King David.  The promise made to King David was that one of his sons would sit on his throne in perpetuity.  There were fifty-one kings who reigned after David, but they became so unfaithful that the Lord eventually allowed the kingdoms of Judah and Israel to be destroyed.  The house of Jesse was a laughing stock at the time of our Lord.

However, we recall that when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to our Blessed Lady, he told her that her Son would sit upon the throne of His father, David, and of His Kingdom there would be no end.  The promise God made to David was not fulfilled in the way one might have expected on the natural level, but it was fulfilled in a way far surpassing what David could ever have imagined possible.  If we think of the house of Jesse as a tree, it was cut down and all that was left was a stump.  However, from the roots of that stump came a new shoot that only God could cause to happen.



Turning to Christ in Repentance

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2019

Little by little we orientate ourselves ever more perfectly in God’s love.


Advent is upon us again and for many Catholics, it’s time to go for confessions. Just a little reminder; you don’t need to confine your confessions to the Advent and Lenten Penitential services only, where loads of priests visit our parish just to hear confessions. In fact, confessions are available before every weekend masses. See those two doors at the back of the church – well, they are confessionals, if you didn’t know. One of the amusing things that we encounter only during Penitential services, because it’s the only time when many Catholics who usually don’t go for confession, actually do make an attempt to do so, is to meet a penitent who has no sin. He’s there for confession because it’s “time” to make a confession but claims to have no sin. So then, we have a “sinless penitent” – an oxymoron, right?



Justice and Welcome

2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

Preaching on today’s readings to bring out the theme of life would focus on two themes of the readings: justice and welcome.

The promised Messiah brings justice. The first reading and the psalm indicate that this involves “deciding aright for the land’s afflicted.” It means that the negative “judgment” imposed upon some, whereby they are deemed less worthy of protection or of other human goods, is reversed…

Closely connected to this theme of justice is the theme of “welcome,” stressed by St. Paul in the second reading. “Welcome one another as Christ welcomed you.” Welcome means that we recognize the dignity of the other person…



The Voice Crying – Repent!

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2016

Advent appeals to us to activate the capacity to wait. It includes living this season fully without rushing into Christmas prematurely.

This 2nd Sunday of Advent John the Baptist, the voice crying in the desert, calls us to repent as a way of preparing for the Lord’s coming. Let the second candle of Advent that we light be an expression of our resolve to turn away from our old ways and walk in the light of Christ.

The Gospel presents John the Baptist who, appreciating how critical is the time, lives in the desert in the manner quite austere as a way of waiting for the Messiah. He is modest in his dress and in what he eats. However, John does not remain only on such external signs he goes further to call for inner transformation.  He is the voice crying in the desert “repent for the Kingdom of heaven has come.” So he proposes a baptism of repentance. In response, people come to the Jordan to be baptised.




2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2016

God calls us to deeper repentance and purification—not for any other reason than that we can love Him more.  Come, Lord Jesus.


Matthew’s Gospel today focuses on the role of Saint John the Baptist:  to proclaim repentance and to prepare the way of the Lord.  Much of modern culture no longer accepts any notion of sin, other than thinking differently from the dominant way of thinking, or thinking differently from one’s “group.”  Modern culture does not seem to encourage thinking for oneself and even less believing in something that might make demands on us to change our lives.

Many people today will not accept that the evils in our world are brought about by choosing wrongly to follow false gods.  We prefer to believe that the evils are brought about by people thinking differently than we think.  John the Baptist would have a great challenge today telling people that they must repent.  Hopefully we who are trying to follow Christ are able to admit our sinfulness and seek to follow the teachings of our Master.



Prepare the Way of the Lord

2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

Through baptism and repentance we obtain the spiritual force to prepare us for the Saviour’s coming.

On this second Sunday of Advent our focus is on the qualities of John the Baptist, one of the great Bible figures. John the Baptist was courageous; a great man who possessed a strong faith no one could weaken. Until he began his public life, he had lived a hidden life in the desert; a strict and austere life of complete fasting. Besides being a righteous man, he was also a great preacher. He has a very powerful message: “Prepare a way for the Lord!” In our Gospel Reading, St. Luke tells us that the Prophet Isaiah referred to St. John when he said, “ A voice has cried out in the wilderness (desert): ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.’” These words in Mathew and other Synoptic Gospels are perfect for the season we are in. Advent should be a time to prepare ourselves for Christmas which is fast approaching.


Faith & Inclusion

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2013

Faith is a light and true faith reaches out to include others – not because of our shining goodness, but through baptism for the forgiveness of sins.


True faith is always inclusive. We see in the Gospel that people came to John the Baptism from “all Judea” and “the whole region around the Jordan.” John received them all – not just the good Jewish people, but also tax collectors, prostitutes and even Roman soldiers. He knows they all have something in common: they need God and they need repentance.

John brings people together around a common ritual; he baptizes them as they confess their sins. Jesus and the Church he founded continues that practice. Pope Francis states, “The transmission of faith occurs first and foremost in baptism.” And quoting Augustine, he makes a reference to infant baptism: “Parents are called not only to bring children into the world, but also to bring them to God, so that through baptism they can be reborn as children of God and receive the gift of faith.”

SOURCE: St. Mary of the Valley – Year A Homilies

Pure Wheat Before Jesus

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2010

Is there chaff in our lives that needs to be blown away and burnt so that we can stand before Christ as pure wheat?


John the Baptist is a powerful image placed before us every Advent. We might want to say John the Baptist preparing for Christ is our model during Advent. In the Gospel today (Matt 3:1-12), John announces judgment, and next Sunday’s Gospel tells us of Jesus bringing salvation. John’s first word announces his theme: “Repent.” In other words, John asks his listeners to turn their minds and hearts away from whatever they had as their goal and look only to God. The reason is because “the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matt 3:2) In other words, Jesus the Messiah has already arrived. Everything about John shows that he himself had turned away from everything to look only to God.


“Arrival” and Catching the Language of God

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2016

The prophets caught the language of God, John learned it and even baptized the Word incarnate and, now, the Word is given and spoken to us. 

This last week I saw the movie “Arrival”.  I found the movie to be very thought-provoking.  I do not want to ruin the movie for anyone so I will not delve too deeply into the story but the heart of the movie is about language, thought and even time.  The movie asks a simple question; “If aliens arrived on earth how would we communicate?”  Especially if the aliens were so different physiologically from us and did not communicate by sound as we do.  The movie centers on a  translator and her work to overcome this barrier.  At one point in the movie there is a discussion about how learning another language might actually effect and even change a person’s way of thinking.  Learning a new language helps us to think differently and to see the world differently.

SOURCE: The Alternate Path – Thoughts on Waling the Path of Christian Discipleship

Journey in the Desert

2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

Our own sins return to haunt us and we are faced with our powerlessness to find direction and freedom.

How often, just like the people in today’s Gospel, we find ourselves struggling to find direction in a ‘wilderness’. Tracks that we once followed now seem to go nowhere or are swept away, and we find ourselves in a trackless waste. Loves that once sustained us have proved fickle and have gone. Worst of all, our own sins return to haunt us and we are faced with our powerlessness to find direction and freedom. This happens to us personally. It happens to those we love and to communities that are significant to us. Matthew is inviting us to not lose hope but to realise that the desert – my desert – can also be the place where I can find new life and where a new creation can begin. The prophet Hosea understood this. God, speaking through him, says: ‘I will now allure you, and bring you into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to you’(Hosea 2:14). Admitting, naming and ‘confessing our sins’, like the people of Judah, we too can prepare to encounter the one who is stronger than we are, the power and gentleness of whose Spirit can speak tenderly to us and call us to journey with him to a deeper meaning and a fuller freedom.

SOURCE: Michael Fallon, msc

Entrance Rites

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 1997

The reforming power of God’s advent, finally, must penetrate our interior lives.


We may, like the Pharisees, go through the motions of baptism, but we are commanded to “produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.” (Mt 3:8) It is not enough to proclaim that we are saved. We must yield our entire being for purification by the Holy Spirit and fire.

Many Christians seem to have a problem with the total message of the Incarnation and Christ’s Advent. They tend to select some safe portion of their lives which they open to God while they slam shut all the others.

Some of us think we can get by with allowing God to enter our interior “prayer lives.” We try to hold the reform to that.

We resist the possibility that our relation to our families or friends could be transformed. We can’t imagine that we would have to change our attitudes toward our enemies.

And we certainly would not tolerate any challenge to our pet political suppositions or economic practices.


Spiritual Lessons Offered by a Stump

2nd Sunday of Advent (A) – 2019

The scriptures this Sunday challenge us to welcome the Lord’s light into our souls so to burn away the chaff that is weighing us down right now. 

I am haunted by the words of Isaiah in the first reading. He talks about Israel as the stump of Jesse. Now think about what a stump looks like. A stump is lifeless. A stump is dead, sometimes rotting. This is Isaiah’s commentary on how Israel was doing at the time, accentuating the need for salvation. On the other hand, it is also a good commentary on how our souls can feel like inside sometimes. My friends, I know as much as we do our best to deck the halls this time of year and try to be merry, there are many of us who in fact can struggle this time of year, primarily because there are areas in any person’s life that can be a lot like that stump, lifeless, dead and rotting. We all have areas in our lives that are at times like that stump, lifeless, dead and rotting. Painful memories of things we had to go through, painful things we have done to others or what others have done to us, and the grief that comes from loss or even disappointment….these are all like a painful rotten stump that can just sit on the soul rotting.

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