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Dec 9, 2017 Written by  Rev. Fr. Paulino Twesigye Mondo

2nd Sunday of Advent Year B Be the first to comment!

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Theme: Hope!

As we hear the scripture for the second Sunday of Advent, we can almost hear the people of the day shouting in excitement waiting for the messiah. If there were newspapers in Jesus’ time, then surely he would have made the headline news! The event of God becoming human in Jesus Christ is not just an editorial comment but is, in fact, the headline news reading that ‘the Word has become flesh. He now lives among us!’ God becoming human in Jesus Christ was the event of the century and the millennium that would change the world forever. Today, this is not just regular news but great news!

First reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

In this reading, Prophet Isaiah offers his exiled contemporaries in Babylonia a vision of a return to their homeland in so glorious manner that would reprise the exodus. Israel’s repatriation signaled the expiation of guilt and the end of slavery at the hands of their oppressors. Like the released kidnapped boy, Israel’s homecoming would mean freedom to reestablish their own identities, shape their own futures and to preserve the traditions they had suffered to retain. Isaiah believed that just as God’s purpose had been accomplished through the events of human history, so also would God’s plan for healing and restoration of Israel be worked out in the arena of political fortunes. Isaiah was, no doubt, aware of the continued successful campaigns of King Cyrus the Persian. As Cyrus’ conquering armies grew stronger and drew nearer and nearer to Babylonia, the Isaiah began to see hope for Israel’s future and interpreted the approaching end of their exile as God’s forgiveness. Although, they had strayed, God being a loving shepherd had sought them out and was bringing them home to a new beginning.

Just as a desert had stretched between themselves and their homecoming when they were rescued from Egypt through Sinai desert, so now once again, a desert lay between them and their homeland. Envisioning this as a second exodus, Isaiah envisioned it as a first class liberating event in which the desert would be a straight highway; valleys would be filled in and mountains leveled once and for all. Through this miraculous cooperative effort of nature, the glory of God would be revealed for all to see. In this inaugural vision, Isaiah was identifying himself with future in which God would forgive and forget human errors. Even today we need a voice of comfort and reconciliation restoring the love of God for humanity. The herald/messenger of glad tidings is the same as evangelist. The good news announced by Israel is not so much a message as it is the people whose glorious redemption manifests the divine redeemer. In this way Isaiah is identifying the mission of every Advent believer which is to proclaim through witness, word and work that this is a season of coming home to God.

Second reading: 2Peter 3:8-14

Traditionally attributed to Simon Peter, this letter was written to affirm an ancient held tradition that Peter was the rock on which the Church was built and that God had the power to judge the world even when the eschatology was delaying. Thus the aim of writing was to encourage those who were growing impatient with the delay of Jesus second coming. This widening interim between the comings of Christ was being complicated by the unusual reluctance to pronounce judgment upon the evils of the world. Basing on this, some heretical Greeks and Jews tried to persuade the early Christians that there was no final judgment.

In response to these attacks, Peter argued that divine time cannot be compared to human time since “one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day” 2Peter 3:8 . This text was understood in connection with of the delayed judgment of Adam. Although had God said, “on the day you eat it you will die” Genesis 2:17; Adam lived another good number of years. This delay of judgment was God’s gift of time to Adam to repent and be saved. God is not “slow to anger” Exodus 34:6; or incapacity to judge, but is rather patient with sinners. Rather than doubt the divine power to judge, sinners should take full advantage of the delay and repent. The letter combines the traditional Jewish ideas of apocalyptic and Greco-Roman notion of the final conflagration to end this threatening question saying that end of time will be manifest with great unpredictability; thus we all need to be always prepared.

Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

John the Baptist, who functions as a travel guide through the Advent season, offers a different slant on the experience and spirituality of homecoming. Today is introduced as a messenger. Like a child watching at the front room window, ready to signal the arrival of expected guests, John’s mission was to recognize and announce his presence. In order to prepare to meet Jesus, those who heard John’s preaching were challenged to make up their minds and welcome the one who was bringing salvation. Although a deep reflection on this Gospel does not allow us to reconstruct the profile of the community being addressed, there are some hints from tradition that suggest a Roman environment. The truth is that Mark was Peter’s interpreter who wrote down accurately whatever he remembered said or done by the Lord from Peter in the course of their working together. Using the sources available to them mainly; sayings and parables of Jesus, stories of healing, controversies, passion narrative, Mark shaped them into what we have.

Geographically, the gospel features Jesus moving from Galilee to Jerusalem but Christologically, Mark guides us to understand Jesus’ authority identified from the outset as Son of God. The gospel goes on to reveal Jesus as the Messiah, Son of David, rejected by his own people, misunderstood by his disciples and ultimately crucified by those who reject his authority. Thus Mark wrote this gospel to encourage and foster the faith among younger believers who as Jesus, would be rejected, persecuted and martyred for the sake of salvation.

Mark presents John the Baptist reprising the message of Prophet Isaiah which indicates that the prophetic vision is now being fulfilled. The desert has again become a highway for homecoming, not to Israel, but to God. Sinners are being challenged by John to leave behind their former ways of sin in order to come home to God’s forgiveness. John also points out that now the way home God has become a person more powerful than him who will baptize by the Holy Spirit. John’s wardrobe and food choices also reveal something of his purpose. Clothed in camel’s hair and a leather belt John prefigured Prophet Elijah cf. 2 Kings 1:8 who was believed to precursor the Messiah. John’s unusual diet is attributed to his asceticism; but also locusts were believed to be traditional symbols of judgment while wild honey was a symbol of comfort cf. Exodus 10.4. Still today the locusts and wild honey teach us: for those who would come home to find God in Jesus, there will be comfort; those who refuse the invitation will bring judgment on themselves.

Application

During this Advent, with Isaiah’s encouragement, John’s guidance and through God’s provenance, we pray that there will be many homecomings to celebrate their new life in Christ. In addition to the ordinary comings home of students who have been away at school, soldiers who have served abroad, and families, who live abroad, the Advent experience challenges those who have been away from the praying community to come home.

 

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Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

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About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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