2nd Sunday of Advent (Sunday 9th Dec, 2018)
First Reading: Bar 5: 1-9 (God will show your splendour)
Second Reading: Phil 1: 4-6, 8-11 (Be pure and blameless)
Gospel: Lk 3: 1-6 (Make his path straight)
The creation picture depicts many types of animals around Adam and Eve. This picture indeed symbolises harmonious relationship of man, God and nature. It looks like one universal family where there is no higher or lower status, enmity of one with another or rather peaceful coexistence of all. It is the plan of God that he wished to have the Universe in this state of things.
However, we know that as human beings began to multiply, there arose a lot of distinction regarding race, nation, language, colour etc. The peaceful co-existence was no more the order of the Universe. On the other hand, man began to have dominion on everything with or without having any regard for God. There also began the desire of people to have name and fame for themselves. The result is the building of Tower of Babel (Gen 11:4). Where God wished the humanity to ‘increase in number and multiple’ (Gen 9:1), the latter wished to be known for its intelligence by trying to build a great city. What ensued was not the evil plan of building a great city rather God brought anger or he confused their language so that they could no longer communicate with one another.
This state of things continued as ever and there came a time that the humanity needed to be saved. This is what Baruch would tell us. He says, “For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God” (Bar 5:7). So, it is God’s mercy to bring the people back after all humiliation, defeat, nomadic life they experienced at the hand of enemies. His words would refer to the sojourn in to God’s land where there would be prosperity, peace, harmony and blessings.
We see the same theme of harmonious existence required for welcoming Jesus in today’s Gospel. It is as if John would recall the Isaiah’s words in Jn 1: 23, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will 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” (Is 40:3-5). Jesus, the master of peace, love and harmony needs a place to dwell in places with the same virtues. The levelling of ground metaphorically means making hearts with no ill-feeling, hatred or jealousy with others but a cordial and prayerful heart rendered by repentance with one self and love towards other.
This is necessary also because only then one can fulfil the wish of St. Paul expressing through the letter to the Philippians. The real joy he envisions in his letter can’t come about through toil or sufferings internal or external but through peace and harmony. The partnership, fellowship and companionship with one another to have the demand to remain in peace and harmony with one another.
In this season of Advent, let us pray that the harmonious image of creation that adorns our walls or the churches be the reality in our lives too. May we bring whatever is higher or noble in us and transform all the unworthiness into goodness to preserve the grace of God in us and love for one another in our hearts. Amen.