Second Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 6
Reading 1 Bar 5:1-9

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
you will be named by God forever
the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.

Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you:
but God will bring them back to you
borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
be filled to level ground,
that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
have overshadowed Israel at God’s command;
for God is leading Israel in joy
by the light of his glory,
with his mercy and justice for company.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6.

R. (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading 2 Phil 1:4-6, 8-11

Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.

Gospel Lk 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Inspirational Story

Determination and Persistence

This is a real life story of engineer John Roebling building the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, USA back in 1870. The bridge was completed in 1883, after 13 years.

In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before.

Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge.

The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was also injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to talk or walk.

“We told them so.” “Crazy men and their crazy dreams.” “It’s foolish to chase wild visions.”

Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built.

In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge and his mind was still as sharp as ever. He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task.

As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.

It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife.

He touched his wife’s arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again.

For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife’s arm, until the bridge was finally completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their team work, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do.

Perhaps this is one of the best examples of a never-say-die attitude that overcomes a terrible physical handicap and achieves an impossible goal.

Often when we face obstacles in our day-to-day life, our hurdles seem very small in comparison to what many others have to face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows us that dreams that seem impossible can be realized with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds are.

 Sermon and Homily

Dear friends in Jesus Christ,

Today the Holy mother Church celebrates the Second Sunday of Advent around the world. Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent, where we reflected how to wait for Jesus and how to prepare ourselves to welcome Jesus in our midst.  The sermon was concluded in inviting all of us to experience Jesus in everything of our day to day life.

“I’ve had the  experience, but I’ve missed the meaning.” Victor Frankl, an Austrian Jewish psychiatrist who was thrown into the concentration camp of Auschwits during World War 11, address his fellow prisoners  as they were lying motionless in despair filled silence with  only an occasional sigh in the darkness of their cell.

He told them that whoever still alive has reason for hope, that whatever they were going through could still be an asset to them in the future; that the meaning of human life includes privation, suffering, and dying; that someone was looking down on each of them with love –friend, wife, somebody was alive or dead, or God- and wouldn’t want to be disappointed. They should courageously integrate their life into a world view that has a meaning beyond immediate self-grasping, and know how to die.

John the Baptist not a soft leader, but a hard leader.

To understand the voice of John the Baptist in the desert, we need to understand the context of the time of prophet Malachi and prophet Isaiah. The Word of God is giving us more information on how God has been preparing his people from the time of beginning to a great moment of salvation. When Messiah was about to come, God sent John the Baptist, the great prophet to prepare the way for God. The voice of God has been constantly calling us to turn away from sins and to come back to God.

John the Baptist was sent by God to prepare the way

We may have the tendency to ask the question who is this great prophet, John the Baptist? The Bible refers, specially in the books of prophets Malachi and  Isaiah,that he was sent by God to prepare the way for the Messiah.

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.(Malachi 3:1)

A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.(Isaiah 40:3)

In Gospel too we find the references for the John the Baptist

“For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!” (Matt. 3:3).

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way; 3The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight,'” (Mark 1:1-3).

‘This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You,’ (Matt. 11:10).

“He [John the Baptist] said, ‘I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said,'” (John 1:23). Read Here

John the Baptist came to this world to prepare the way. God wanted to prepare the way to walk in that path. God cannot walk in certain ways where even people may be walking. God can only walk on certain paths that if people are walking on that path they will see and experience God.

The way on which God wanted to walk  in our midst is destroyed and corrupted. The conditions of the way  were changed  by humanity. A voice was calling from the desert to go back to the original conditions of the way, which God already planned for the humanity .

John the Baptist was not a soft leader to make the way in the heart of the people. The whole  world and the people want a soft life that was created through many sins. John the Baptist became a hard leader to remove the sins from the hearts of the people  to welcome God.  A soft person would have more difficulties in removing his sins or leading the people in a spiritual path, but a strong and hard person would be a great leader to lead his people to a spiritual path. John the Baptist was not a soft leader he was a hard leader.

One cannot experience God with crooked paths in his heart

God can be experienced in our life with certain pattern of life. When our way of life is not proper, or when our life is destroying the heats of others by our actions, by our words and even by our thoughts, we cannot see God and God cannot walk in my path. How is my life? Can I hear a special voice calling in my heart to heal a certain special area of my life? The voice is constantly calling me within my heart to pay attention on certain area of my life to be healed. Am I aware that God is still waiting to walk in my path of life as soon as the block is removed?

Today the voice is calling you and speaking to you in a special way, like the voice of John the Baptist in the desert before many years.

Prepare the way of the Lord in your heart and life

make straight his paths in your heart and life

Every valley in your  life shall be filled

and every mountain and hill in you shall be made low.

The winding roads which you have in your life shall be made straight,

and the rough ways in your thoughts and actions made smooth,

and then  you  shall see the salvation of God.”

The Bible Speaks of the Way

Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

saiah 35:8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

John 10:9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;

Romans 5:2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Hebrews 9:8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.