SECOND SUNDAY OF ADEVNT YEAR B
6th December 2020
Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8.
On this second Sunday of advent, the gospel passage is from the first chapter of Mark’s gospel. It is ‘The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God’. The evangelist connects the Good News to the prophecy recorded in Isaiah chapter forty which is the first reading of today. The good news about Jesus Christ, the son of God began with the preparation preached by prophet Isaiah when he cried out from the wilderness; Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight. The reason for the preparation is that at the coming of the Lord, his glory shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it. The early warning is for us to be mindful enough not to miss out in the process of preparation and waiting.
We know that the coming of the Lord referred to here is the Nativity of the Jesus Christ. The Lord understands our busy world and its numerous distractions, thus he warns us to be mindful of the day of His birth. The possibility of mixing up things or focusing on the not very important issues can make us loose the meaning and focus of Christmas. The Christmas shopping is on and plans are under way to make the best of shopping at the cheapest rates. Already the social media is flooded by pictures of homes lighted up with Christmas decorations. I am yet to see a crib in any of the decorations. Some of the Christmas trees have nothing referring to the actual feast of the nativity. In fact, some do not tell the story of Bethlehem. Families are preoccupied with what should be the best Christmas gift for the children. For the older generation, the focus is on how to reunite with their grandchildren whom they have not seen due to the pandemic. Amidst all these, the prophet warns us; Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.
I am convinced that a good preparation for Christmas should begin from our hearts. It is primarily in our hearts that we shall welcome the infant saviour. This is why prophet Isaiah emphasises that we ‘Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low. Let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley;…’ The prophet expects us to remove all negative feelings from our hearts through the sacrament of reconciliation. Imagine the atmosphere when all members of a family or a bubble hoping to spend Christmas together go to the confession. It will make a remarkable difference than the exchange of gifts. It will open the way for a better appreciation and acceptance of the gift of one another. It will enable us recapture what the pandemic stole from us, which is true joy and happiness. It makes a huge difference to welcome our grandchildren with hearts renewed by the sacrament of reconciliation. We shall see his glory revealed at Christmas if we rid our hearts of sin.
ANTHONY EKPUNOBI, CM.