Liturgy of the Sunday

Deel Op

Second Sunday of Advent
Memorial of Saint John Damascene, a monk and Doctor of the Church who lived in Damascus in the eighth century. He distributed his goods to the poor and joined the lavra of Saint Sabbas nearby Jerusalem. Prayer for Christians in Syria.


First Reading

Isaiah 11,1-10

A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from his roots. On him will rest the spirit of Yahweh, the spirit of wisdom and insight, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and fear of Yahweh: his inspiration will lie in fearing Yahweh. His judgement will not be by appearances. his verdict not given on hearsay. He will judge the weak with integrity and give fair sentence for the humblest in the land. He will strike the country with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips bring death to the wicked. Uprightness will be the belt around his waist, and constancy the belt about his hips. The wolf will live with the lamb, the panther lie down with the kid, calf, lion and fat-stock beast together, with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like the ox. The infant will play over the den of the adder; the baby will put his hand into the viper's lair. No hurt, no harm will be done on all my holy mountain, for the country will be full of knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea. That day, the root of Jesse, standing as a signal for the peoples, will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious.

Psalmody

Psalm 71

Antiphon

The Lord will free the poor who cry to him.

O God, give your judgement to the king,
to a king's son your justice,

that he may judge your people in justice
and your poor in right judgement.

May the mountains bring forth peace for the people
and the hills, justice.

May he defend the poor of the people
and save the children for the needy
(and crush the oppressor).

He shall ensure like the sun and the moon
from age to age.

He shall descend like rain on the meadow,
like raindrops on the earth.

In his days justice shall flourish
and peace till the moon fails.

He shall rule from sea to sea,
from the Great River to earth's bounds.

Before him his enemies shall fall,
his foes like the dust.

The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts
shall pay him tribute.

The kings of Sheba and Seba
shall bring him gifts.

Before him all kings shall fall prostrate,
all nations shall serve him.

For he shall save the poor when they cry
and the needy who are helpless.

He will have pity on the weak
and save the lives of the poor.

From the oppression he will rescue their lives,
to him their blood is dear.

(Long may he live,
may the gold of Sheba be given him.)

They shall pray for him without ceasing
and bless him all the day.

May corn be abundant in the land
to the peaks of the mountains.

May its fruit rustle like Lebanon;
may men flourish in the cities
like grass on the earth.

May his name be blessed for ever
and endure like the sun.

Every tribe shall be blessed in him,
all nations bless his name.

Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel,
who alone works wonders,

ever blessed his glorious name.
Let his glory fill the earth.

Second Reading

Romans 15,4-9

And all these things which were written so long ago were written so that we, learning perseverance and the encouragement which the scriptures give, should have hope. Now the God of perseverance and encouragement give you all the same purpose, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that you may together give glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one heart. Accept one another, then, for the sake of God's glory, as Christ accepted you. I tell you that Christ's work was to serve the circumcised, fulfilling the truthfulness of God by carrying out the promises made to the fathers, and his work was also for the gentiles, so that they should give glory to God for his faithful love; as scripture says: For this I shall praise you among the nations and sing praise to your name.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 3,1-12

In due course John the Baptist appeared; he proclaimed this message in the desert of Judaea, 'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.' This was the man spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said: A voice of one that cries in the desert, 'Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.' This man John wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather loin-cloth round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, 'Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming retribution? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance, and do not presume to tell yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father," because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is being laid to the root of the trees, so that any tree failing to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire. I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who comes after me is more powerful than I, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor and gather his wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

As we take the first steps in the time of Advent, the Gospel makes us encounter John the Baptist. Between the fall of 27 A.D. and the spring of 28 A.D. this singular prophet, called John, appears on the religious landscape of Palestine in a locality nearby the Jordan river. There tradition wanted that Isarel entered the Promised Land at the end of the 40 year long wandering in the desert. He does not preach in Jerusalem like the other prophets but in the desert far from the power palaces. The choice of this place suggests that we cannot wait for the kingdom of God being tranquil in our usual habits and thinking ta there is nothing new to be hoped for. We need to get out of ourselves and the usual places of our lives - even if it is the temple of the holy city - and go where ethe Lord comes and stars making his Kingdom true. The contemporaries of the Baptist sensed it so much so as the evangelist Matthews says: "Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins." They were all going out to seek an answer to the anxiety of a time void of visions of peace. There was like a widespread awareness of the need of a new time and a new world.
We can think that the words of the propjet Isaiah were familiar to the Baptist. The time of peace Isaiah was waiting for was one where the wolf would live down with the lamb, the leopard with the baby goat and all would be led by a little child. It was the prophetic dream of a world emptied of violence, wars, conflicts and hatreds and filled with the power of love and justice of the Messiah, of a little child who would be the prince of peace. That time was about to come and the Baptist had sensed it. Today he is in front of us all to transmit his same yearning for the kingdom of peace. John did not resign to a world full of violence and waited for the messiah. Meeting Jesus was the goal of his life. While imprisoned by Herod, perhaps he doubted that he ran in vain and he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was or not the Messiah who had to come. And Jesus Answered those perplexed disciples: "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them" (Lk 7:22). In that moment probably the Baptist understood deeply that Jesus was the Messiah and that the kingdom of God had started in the world. Meeting Jesus, following him in living the Gospel of love for all and especially for the poor is the essence of life. It was so for the Baptist. It is so also for us.