A Reflection on the Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent
Reading I: Baruch 5:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Reading II: Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Gospel: Luke 3:1-6
My high school seminary rector Fr. Peter Nygren OSB always said, “The best way to start Advent is to start Advent early.” We are only one week into the season of Advent, and just like that, we are almost halfway through! Christmas is almost here, Jesus is coming, and if we have not begun preparing our hearts for Him, now is the time; it is not too late, lest He come and we be caught unprepared! Let us make this year’s Advent the best Advent of our lives!
Holidays should be a time of great joy and family time, but preparing for holidays can be extremely stressful. When big holidays are around the corner and family members whom we have not seen in months are coming over, we try to make our homes and ourselves as presentable as possible, hoping that the one time they see us, they see us in the best way possible. If we stress out and put in hours of work tidying up our homes, cooking the best meals, and dressing up in uncomfortable clothes for family members who (let’s be honest) are not always the nicest. Then how much more should we put in the effort to prepare for our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the King of the Universe, and who loves us so much that He would become man and die on the cross for us?
Advent is a time to tidy up our little huts, the huts that are our hearts. It is a comfortable little hut with its imperfections, but it works. The floor squeaks, the wind gets through the walls, and the roof leaks, but overall, it is familiar and comfortable. But eventually, the imperfections annoy and incite us to change and to make our huts better. We call in the Lord to start fixing things up, and at first, it is great! The floor stops squeaking, the walls stop shaking, and the roof stops leaking. But then, all of a sudden, the Lord starts to break down the walls and destroys the furniture. We cry and beg Him to stop, but He does not listen. He even ends up destroying the things He fixed! Right as He is about to completely demolish our little hut, He turns to us and says, “You invited me to fix your little hut, but I did not come to fix it like an electrician or a plumber, I came to rebuild it into a mansion so that I can come and live in it.”
The Lord does not want to fix our hearts; He wants to live in them. The Lord wants to replace our stony hearts with natural hearts. He wants to turn our dinky little selfish hearts into grand hearts of gold! But when we invite Him in, do not expect warm and fuzzy feelings all the time; on the contrary, expect great pain and suffering. When Christ said to pick up our crosses and follow Him, He was not joking about the crosses or following Him to Calvary. Only if we die to ourselves can we be a part of His glorious resurrection and bear fruit 100-fold.
Saint John the Baptist in the gospel proclaims a baptism of repentance as he prepares the way for the Lord. The first step to inviting Christ into our hearts is to repent of all our failings and sins. Invite Him in to break down all the walls of pride, lust, envy, greed, whatever they are, that are keeping us from loving Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Ask Him to take away everything that is keeping us from Him. This Advent, let us try as hard as we can to prepare our hearts for the Lord.
Author: An Vo, Seminarian, Sacred Heart Catholic Church & School