Homily for 2nd Sunday in Advent, Cycle, C

posted Dec 6, 2015, 10:57 AM by Church Office   [ updated Dec 6, 2015, 10:57 AM by Michelle Massung ]
        I want you to remember when you took your last trip somewhere far
from here. Maybe you went on vacation to Ocean City, Maryland, or to Canada
to go fishing, or visit your loved ones in a city far from here. How was
your actual travel in the car or plane or train? Was your trip a smooth one,
were the roads bumpy, full of potholes, uneven pavement.  Maybe you
experienced a touch of motion sickness as you went through the hills of
Central Pennsylvania. Or if you flew, how was your flight. Was it smooth or
did you encounter some turbulence? How was the takeoff and landing? Were
they smooth as well? My point in asking is that if the trip is smooth and
without any problems, we are in a good mood; we are ready to start our
vacation and to really enjoy our time at our destination. I recently drove
to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving to visit my family. The trip went very
smoothly and when I arrived I was able to enjoy my time with my family.
        The same can be said during the time of Jesus. A king or Royal
official would travel out to the various towns and villages in his kingdom
and if he had a smooth trip, then he was less likely to impose a heavy tax
on them for the coming year. To ensure that he had a smooth trip, the people
would do their best to make sure the road was smooth and straight. They
filled in the potholes leveled the hills and filled in the valleys. All this
work was worth it to them because the reduced tax would be worth the effort.
        In today's Gospel, Luke introduces us to John the Baptist.  He was
the cousin of Jesus and the son of Zachariah, one of the main Temple
leaders.  John the Baptist grew up around the Temple and watched how the
temple leaders conducted themselves, how they put heavy burdens on the
people, how they lived a life of hypocrisy.  Finally, he had enough and left
the comforts of home to go out into the desert.  Why the desert? Because the
desert represented the exact opposite of what it was like to live in the
temple area.  It was hot, dry, bug-invested, not much to eat or drink, just
plain miserable.  Yet, John wanted to go there to make a point to the
people.  The point he wanted to make was that they needed to stop listening
to the scribes and Pharisees and elders and to listen to his message of
repentance.  John wanted them to turn their lives around and orient their
hearts towards God, and not their own financial gain or selfish interests.
However, John had another purpose in going to the desert.  What is the one
thing that you desire most of all when you are in the desert? Water!! John
knew that the people would come out to hear his message because they were
curious and knew from his birth that he was a man of God.  Once they came to
the desert, it was only a matter of time before they desired water; first to
drink and then to be baptized.  A Jewish person would asked to be baptized
as a public display of repentance, of dedicating themselves back to God.
        During our Advent journey, we too are called to make a new
commitment to God as we prepare for his coming on Christmas.  We are all
called to repent and reorient our hearts and minds back to God.  Jesus is on
his way back to visit us on Christmas and we need to prepare for his coming
by straightening out our path for him to travel. The bumps in the road, the
potholes, the hills and the valleys all represent our sins. When we sin we
create obstacles in our path for Jesus to reach our hearts. We need to fill
in the pot holes of anger, level the hills of pride, fill in the valleys of
selfishness.  Hopefully our sins are not too serious that we cut off all
access to our hearts. To smooth out this path, we fix the road by humbling
asking Jesus to forgive our sins. In doing so, we allow Jesus to enter us
and bestow his grace upon us.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. John Gibbons