By Fr. Andrew Kelly
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT – DEC. 8, 2013
Matthew’s Gospel stories are really about issues within Matthew’s community (and today’s believing community) that need to be addressed.
With that in mind, John the Baptizer is speaking to the community when in Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 3:1-12) John proclaims: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Conversion and daily, on-going conversion are essential if the community’s mission and message is to be effective. Thus the need for Matthew’s reminder placed upon John the Baptizer’s lips.
Arrogant community assumptions are attacked when John angrily and scornfully scolds: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance.”
Community action and service demonstrate conversion, not self-centered statements about how wonderful the community is.
Finally the community is to get out of the way and simply point to Jesus Christ just as John the Baptist did. John describes the humble slavish community life style this way: “…one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals.”
Matthew’s Gospel is what Advent is all about. When proclaimed, believed and lived, Jesus Christ becomes flesh and blood (incarnated) in the community’s very heart and soul.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)
Scripture Readings for Dec. 8-15
Gn 3:9-15, 20
Eph 1:3-6, 11-12
Zec 2:14-17 or Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
Lk 1:26-38 or Lk 1:39-47
Sir 48:1-4, 9-11
Mt 17:9a, 10-13
Is 35:1-6a, 10