HOMILY: 2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT 2020
I grew up in a strict family environment. My parents trained me to prepare the things that I need before going to school, from shirt, pants and slippers were on bench and do my homework before bedtime. In the morning, I have to wake up on my own; I have to take showers and eat breakfast all by myself. Oftentimes I failed but sometimes I did it perfectly according to their standard. It’s bloody I tell you. How many times they yelled and scolded me; I received countless pinches. I cried many times. However, they would always reiterate that these are for my own good. The things that I learned are not only for today but for a lifetime. They want to build me a habit because they want me to build my destiny.
We are now on the second Sunday of Advent. Repentance is a spiritual habit so that we can build our destiny. Repentance is welcoming Jesus in our life. The Prophet Isaiah reminds us how to prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God, every valley be lifted up, every mountain be made low and uneven ground shall become level. We are in Saskatchewan which is a flat country. You can see endless horizon. It is a country where you can see your pet even if it is lost for three days. Be like Saskatchewan. Make your life an open book before the Lord. Allow Jesus to see everything in our life even the scariest, shameful and darkest part in our life. Ask the Holy Spirit to grant us serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Repentance is taking in us a new life in Christ. The gospel of Mark narrates John the Baptist proclaiming the baptism of repentance. The word "Baptism" is a transliteration of the Greek word BAPTIZO which means to immerse. Basically it is an immersion into another substance, for the purpose of being saturated by it. Baptism is not just pouring out the holy water on the head of the person which symbolize spiritual purification but it is focused on the effect which is shaping in us new form after the very substance of Jesus Christ. We become an image of Christ himself especially his heart, attitude and disposition in life. Baptism of repentance therefore tells us that repentance is not just about realizing how sinful we are that we have to receive the sacrament of reconciliation but we have to be aware of the new life that we have received. Baptism of repentance restores our original dignity being children of God. What do you do with your brand new car? We use it with extra care; we surely use it for noble purposes such as family travels.
Repentance is living a life of generosity. The second letter of Peter tells us that in “accordance with his promise, we wait for the new heavens and new earth, where righteousness is at home. The fruit of repentance goes beyond our personal boundaries, it recreates the whole world. It is a conversion of the world from an inhospitable to a friendly world; from a violent to a peaceful world; from a lonely to a happy world; from a selfish to a generous world and a world with people who are always willing to forgive to give peace always a chance to thrive. Pope Francis envisioned it as a world without borders because we are all brothers and sisters.