2nd Sunday of Advent- Year A – December 4, 2022
PEACE CHANGES OUR LIVES
Who doesn’t need peace? We all need it not only in our own lives but also in our families, communities, countries, and in the world. In recent times we have witnessed the turmoil caused by unwanted wars and greed for power. The desire to have peace is always in the hearts of us all. As Prophet Jeremiah says when he suffered and had no peace “O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. For I hear many whisperings: “Terror is all around! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” All my close friends are watching for me to stumble. “Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him, and take our revenge on him.” And I do believe to have peace in our lives and in the world, we must speak to the Lord who is the Prince of Peace. Someone wrote very beautiful poem to describe how he speaks with God:
Hello God, I called tonight to talk a little while. I need a friend who’ll listen to my anxiety and trial.
You see, I can’t quite make it through a day just on my own. I need your love to guide me, so I’ll never feel alone.
I want to ask you please to keep my family safe and sound. Come and fill their lives with confidence for whatever fate they’re bound.
Give me faith, dear God, to face each hour throughout the day and not to worry over things I can’t change in any way.
I thank you God for being home and listening to my call, for giving me such good advice when I stumble and fall.
Your number, God, is the only one that answers every time. I never get a busy signal, never had to pay a dime.
So thank you, God, for listening To my troubles and my sorrow. Good night, God, I love You too, And I’ll call again tomorrow!
Every day we need to call and speak with God to have peace in our lives and in the world. Some of the saints have really reflected on the value of peace and have invited all of us to follow.
St. Dorotheus – A great means to preserve continual peace and tranquillity of soul is to receive everything from the hands of God, both great and small, and in whatever way it comes.
St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney – See, my children, a person who is in a state of sin is always sad. Whatever he does, he is weary and disgusted with everything; while he who is at peace with God is always happy, always joyous. Oh, beautiful life! Oh, beautiful death!
St Thomas of Villanova – He who is humble easily obeys everyone, fears to offend anyone, is at peace with everyone, is kind with all.
(300) Diary of St Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul – Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.
Saint Gerard Majella – Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?
St. Mother Teresa – If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” “Peace begins with a smile.” “Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. The rest will be given.
St. Francis de Sales – Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.
Saint Francis of Assisi – While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.
Saint Philip Neri – We must sometimes bear with little defects in others, as we have, against our will, to bear with natural defects in ourselves. If we wish to keep peace with our neighbor, we should never remind anyone of his natural defects.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori – The more a person loves God, the more reason he must hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone.
St. Pope John Paul II – Peace is not just the absence of war. Like a cathedral, peace must be constructed patiently and with unshakable faith.
We continue our Advent journey as we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord. We light a second candle which symbolizes the desire and gift of Peace. The second candle during Advent keeps reminding us that Jesus is the only one who can illumine our hearts, minds, and souls in order to experience peace. This week we are given St. John the Baptist to walk with and examine our emptiness of lives. He is crying and pleading with people to mend their ways and get ready to welcome the one who was, who is and who will be forever.
The following story will lead us to understand the presence and peace of the Lord within us so that we may prepare ourselves for the worthy celebration of the Nativity of the Lord.
Once A daughter is telling her mother how everything is going wrong. She is failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her, and her best friend is moving away. Meanwhile, her mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack. The daughter says, “Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.” “Here; have some cooking oil,” her mother offers. “Yuck” says her daughter. “How about a couple raw eggs?” “Gross, Mom!” “Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?” “Mom, those are all yucky!” To which the mother replies, “Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves, but when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!
God works the same way. Many times, we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times as we are experiencing right now, but God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! Does God not pay attention to our present situation, one may raise this question? However, Prophet Isaiah gives the answer in this way; “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God…” And Prophet Jeremiah says “But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore, my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind; let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause. Sing to the LORD; PRAISE the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers”.
Today’s Word of God has some very interesting elements to reflect upon as we walk with Prophet Isaiah and St. John the Baptist. First God comforts everyone. Prophet Isaiah is giving this message to Israelites those are in Babylonian exile and are completely devastated with things happened with them and the city of Jerusalem. In the Book of Exodus, we read “God said to Moses, I have heard the cry of my people and have to save them”. God does not leave anyone in pain or suffering but wipes the tears from every eye as St. John writes in the Book of Revelation “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” God’s only Begotten Son took human flesh to comfort everyone and even he cried and had compassion for people because they were like sheep without shepherd.
Secondly a voice is crying. Why is this voice crying? Why is a voice is coming mentioned? In the First Reading and the Gospel we have the same passages which explore the love and compassion of God who wants people to come back to him as Prophet Ezekiel says, “Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, thus you have said: “Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?” Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (33:10-11). In our day-to-day life whenever we see someone crying, we experience the sadness, brokenness, pain of rejection, and suffering. This crying makes people come up to console or strengthen someone either by simple hugs or words. However, in the Readings today God’s sadness is immense because people have become unfaithful to him and have started following other gods and ways which are contrary to his commandments, but he wants them back because he does not want to die for their sins as Psalmist says “harden not your hearts today”. St. Paul explains the compassion and love of God even if we deny him “The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:11-13). One may ask the question why is he crying in the wilderness when people were living in the cities? It is a valid question however we must understand the content and meaning of “wilderness” in the Bible. The Wilderness in the Bible is considered “a place of loneliness and emptiness” and “a state of quietness” which means one must be alone and quiet to “listen to his voice”.
Eusebius of Caesarea once wrote “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God. The prophecy makes clear that it is to be fulfilled, not in Jerusalem but in the wilderness: it is there that the glory of the Lord is to appear, and God’s salvation is to be made known to all mankind. It was in the wilderness that God’s saving presence was proclaimed by John the Baptist, and there that God’s salvation was seen. The words of this prophecy were fulfilled when Christ and his glory were made manifest to all: after his baptism the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove rested on him, and the Father’s voice was heard, bearing witness to the Son: This is my beloved Son, listen to him. The prophecy meant that God was to come to a deserted place, inaccessible from the beginning. None of the pagans had any knowledge of God since his holy servants and prophets were kept from approaching them. The voice commands that a way be prepared for the Word of God: the rough and trackless ground is to be made level, so that our God may find a highway when he comes. Prepare the way of the Lord: the way is the preaching of the Gospel, the new message of consolation, ready to bring to all mankind the knowledge of God’s saving power”.
Thirdly invitation to repent. This is so very important to understand that we want to have peace not only within ourselves but with God as well, then we must repent from our short comings, sins, and failures. By confessing them we become humble, and humility plays a vital role in achieving peace. Prophet Isaiah says “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low’ the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken”. In our Christian faith we have the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation which helps us to experience peace and healing in the Lord. St. John Baptist while inviting people to confess their sins, is also reminding them to prepare themselves to welcome the one who is more powerful than him. St. Peter in the Second Reading is encouraging people “do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but all to come to repentance”. The season of Advent is a season of seeking God’s peace, love, and presence; “Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace”.
Lastly acknowledging the Saviour. St. John the Baptist acknowledges the Saviour that he is more powerful than him “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals, I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. He was the first one who even before his birth leaped for joy in his mother’s womb. Jesus is prince of peace who is seated on the eternal thorn of King David. Prophet Isaiah says “See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd…”
Let’s reflect on this story and very especially the last part of the story so that peace can change our lives to think about others and we may come out of our selfish motives.
One day the most peaceful inhabitants from the Earth asked one very powerful wizard to stop all wars and bloodshed on the planet. It is simple, – he said. — I will destroy all weapons on the Earth, and nobody will be able to fight anymore. It would be great! –people exclaimed. The magic wand’s wave – and this was done.
There was a peace on the planet for three days, while the majority of those who were prone to fight, sought and could not find a weapon. When they understood they’ve lost it forever, they have made spears of young trees and started to fight again. When the wizard heard this bad news, he said: Do not worry. I will destroy all young trees, so that they will not be able to fight.
After two or three days of useless search for young trees, suitable for making spears, rebellious people started to cut giant trees, make batons from them, and the bloodshed has started again. The Wizard destroyed all big trees. Then humans made knives and swords of metal. He destroyed all metal on the planet. People made sling and began to throw stones at each other. It was necessary to destroy the stones, too. And then peacekeepers began to worry: all trees have disappeared; there is no metal and stones. How to live, what to eat now? There will be no vegetation soon, and people will die without even fighting. No, this is a wrong solution of the problem.
The Wizard became confused: I do not know what to do now. I would have destroyed all humanity, but, unfortunately, it is not in my power! The peacekeepers fell into despair; they did not know what to do. And then one clever kid turned to the Wizard. I know what you should do. Let people feel, how others perceive their actions. If one person hurt someone, let him feel the same pain, and if he brings joy to someone, let him feel the same joy. So, no one will hurt each other, because he will feel the pain immediately too and would have to stop. All people were inspired with the greatness of kid’s thought, and the wizard realized his idea. He returned all the trees, stones and metals. People began to help each other, because they liked the sense of joy they felt at this moment. And they began to live in harmony and joy.
So today as we enter into the second week of Advent to follow the light and journey with Prophet Isaiah and St. John the Baptist, to experience God’s love and peace so that our souls are not dragged by the evils of doubt rising from the uncertainties of the world. Let’s prepare the way to welcome Jesus Christ so that he may become the true reason of the season and peace may prevail in our homes, families, communities and in the World. Come Lord Jesus Prince of Peace and fill our hearts with your love and peace.
Other Sermons In This Series
December 10, 2021
November 14, 0201
December 17, 2021