December 4th: Second Sunday of Advent
Dear Parish Family,
The Gospel passage today speak about re- pentance.
John’s mission as precursor is to make straight the way of the Lord. John lived out this calling by preaching repentance to all he encountered and urge that they follow after the Christ with all their hearts. John states that we have a responsibility to be merciful to those less fortunate than our- selves. We should avoid sin, we should re- pent, because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. The Baptist says that the Kingdom of God is upon them, because Jesus, the Son of God, has taken on flesh and is walk- ing in their midst. And, if the people are about to see Jesus, they are about to see God, and if they are about to see God, the proper state for entering into His presence is freedom from sin. God is visible in the Son, so that we might see and believe in Him through the eyes of faith. The fruits of repentance are forgiveness, love, and true charity. It is the humbled heart that receives God’s transformative grace, the ability to be forgiving, loving, and charitable to others. John tried to tell the Israelites that they cannot hide behind the idea that they will be saved simply be- cause they are the chosen people. Rather, it is a repentant heart, God’s grace, and deep faith that will save them. And we cannot possess true faith along with our sins; this is the Baptism John wishes to be- stow on the people — a Baptism of repentance. Thus, John’s Baptism of repentance differs greatly from the Sacrament of Baptism which seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark of belonging to Christ.
In other words, we are changed forever once we receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and through it we become adopted children, co-heirs, partakers of the Divine nature. Jesus gave His life that we be saved through the grace of the sacrament; yet we must will will to be saved. We are made in the image and likeness of God and given the gift of free will. If we choose with our free will to transgress God’s Law, we are irrational, and the choice we make in choosing sin over the greatest good will blind us, allowing us to fall further into sin. But through the Sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation, we are released from our sins, and we are given the grace to avoid these near occasions of sin.
These Sacraments, along with the other five, impart God’s grace to us, and we must have gratitude for the fact that they are realized only through the great sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Thus, we must be among the faithful, those who conform our free will to God’s will for us. Then Jesus, He who makes both the chaff and the wheat, Who clears the threshing floor and gathers the wheat, will raise us up: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.” (hprweb.com
God bless you all,
Sister Maria Inviolata, SMDG