Detailed homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C







Detailed homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C

Theme: CHANGE ON THE INSIDE

By: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka

 

Homilyfor Sunday December 5 2021

R1 – Bar 5:1-9
R2 – Phil 1:4-6, 8-11
GOSPEL – Luke 3:1-6

A funny story was narrated about a man called Chris. Each year Chris would go in search of the most beautiful and super sized Christmas tree he could find. He dragged the tree home and tried to figure out which corner of the living room he will keep it. Each year, Chris would try to put the tree in a different location within the living room. This he couldn’t do without spending hours with his two sons arranging and rearranging the living room where he wanted to keep the Christmas tree; moving the sofas, the dinning and other furnitures, only to prepare a suitable position for his beautiful and super sized Christmas tree. The wife, who had gotten tired of such practice stood at the door of the living room and said to the husband, “You are just very crazy.” Their sons in shock wondered why their mum, for the first time, could use such nasty words on their Dad. The woman went further to exclaim, “Why not cut down small branch and place it in an unoccupied corner of the house?” Chris didn’t listen as he stood out with his super sized Christmas tree. He insisted in moving some of the furnitures inorder to make room for the Christmas tree that year. The wife ranted again, “You’re just crazy and annoying. Why not leave the tree outside where it belongs.” Looking at the tree and his family, Chris retorted, “I thought the whole idea of Christmas is to change things around from the inside and on the inside. Ofcourse, something beautiful is worth making room and changing from the inside.”

Beloved in Christ, I think Chris was literally right when he said, “I thought the whole idea of Christmas is to change things around you ‘from’ or ‘on’ the inside.” This is quite true not just for the Christmas tree but for the Christmas message – “Prepare a way for the Lord, make his path straight. Let every valley be filled, and every mountain and hill be leveled…” (Is 40:4). Christmas is such a beautiful and anticipated season that worths such an inward preparations from the inside. Like Chris, we really need to move some things around in our hearts, by ordering our priorities accordingly.

The readings of this Sunday’s liturgy mandate us to make some changes in our hearts, by arranging and rearranging the furnitures of hates, unforgiveness, sinfulness, rifts, anarchy and discord in the living room of our hearts, where the Holy Spirit dwells (1Cor 6:19), inorder to give room for the coming Messiah.

The first reading announces that God is ready to display the splendor of the Messiah to all nations. In other words, the coming of the Messiah would bring about changes. Things are going to be changed, moved and arranged. So, we are encouraged to: “Take off our dress of sorrow and distress, and put on the beauty of the glory of God forever….”

St Paul in the second reading challenges us to discern what is of value – the change on the inside, not outside, and order our priorities aright, by remaining steadfast in good works, and to continue to improve in it until the Lord comes.

In the Gospel, Luke first gave a recap of the politico-religious situation, with cruel, heartless and reckless religious and political leaders at the time Jesus was born. Indeed, it was a time of excessive political and religious instability. It reveals how the change would affect every fabrics of the society with attention shifted no longer to these cruel leaders and rulers, but on the coming Messiah. Hence, we ought to make some changes on the inside.

*CHANGE FROM THE INSIDE*

Heraclitus of Ephesus once said, “You cannot step into the same river twice, for other waters are continually flowing on. Hence, he asserted, “Life is in a flux and the only constant thing in life is change.” Change can be progressive or retrogressive. People or things can change either for good or for bad. The clarion call in the readings of this Sunday’s liturgy, is for an inward positive change from the inside. John the Baptist heralded the message of repentance (Meta + noia = change of heart or mind) in the Gospel by urging us to prepare a highway in our hearts for the Messiah by levelling the mountains of pride and the valleys of impurity, injustice and neglect and straightening our crooked ways.

This change is chiefly carried out in the heart, just like Chris in the introit story, who sought to arrange and rearrange the furnitures in his living room inorder to accommodate his beautiful Christmas tree. Our basic problem is a heart problem. We need to get the heart changed, the heart transformed. Most often, we spend the Advent season preparing for things and events unconnected with the expectant threefold comings of Jesus Christ. The physical preparations and changes we effect during this season are beautiful but not fundamental and quintessential. The dusty walls of our hearts need painting and the spoilt access roads of our hearts that have impeded and stiffled relationships, mutual and fraternal coexistence need leveling. Attention is needed more from the inside. When we pay much attention to the ongoing commercialization of Christmas, we forget the reason for the season.

_*LIFE MESSAGES*_

(1) *PRIORITY SHOULD BE GIVEN TO CHANGE OF HEART (METANOIA* )

The Greek word for repentance, ‘metanoia,’ etymologically means, ‘change of heart.’ So, Christians, in this season of Advent need to prepare their hearts and lives for Jesus our Savior to be reborn in us during this Christmas time by:

(i) Filling in the “valleys” of our souls, formed from our shallow prayer life and lack of faith.

(ii) Straightening whatever crooked paths we’ve been walking, like involvement in some secret or habitual sins or in a sinful relationships. If we have been involved in some dishonest practices at work or at home, we are called to straighten them out and make restitution like Zaccheaus (Lk 19:8).

(iii) Levelling the hills of dissention, rifts, segregation and tribalism. If we have been harboring grudges or hatred, or failing to be reconciled with others, now is the time to clear away all the debris. As individuals, we might have to overcome deep-seated resentment, persistent fault-finding, unwillingness to forgive, dishonesty in our dealings with others, or a bullying attitude. Also, we all have to level the “mountains” of our pride and egocentrism by practicing the true humility of rendering humble service to others.

(2) *WE MUST HEED THE CALL FOR A DESERT EXPERIENCE*

John’s preparations for the coming of the Messiah took place in the desert. The essence of the desert experience is to enable us get detached from the commercialization of the season and so, focus our attention on the reason for the season. The desert is a place of encounter with God that reminds us of our inadequacy, insufficiency and dependence on God. When we shy away from the change from the inside, we resent dependence on God. However, when we resent dependence on God, we become like Adam and Eve (Gen 3:6), the builders of the Babel Tower (Gen 11:1-9).

Finally, there was a king, who ruled a prosperous country. One day he went for a trip to some distant areas of his country. When he came back to his palace, he complained that his feet were very sore because it was the first time that he went for such a long trip, and the road he went through was very rough and stony. He then ordered his people to cover every road of the country with leather. Definitely this would need skins of thousands of animals, and would cost a huge amount of money. Then one of his wise advisors dared to question the king, “Why do you have to spend that unnecessary amount of money? Why don’t you just cut a little piece of leather to cover your feet?” The king was surprised, but later agreed to his suggestion to make a ‘shoe’ for himself.

Beloved, we often say, “I wish things would change or people would change.” Instead wise people say: “Change your thinking and change your world.” Let us begin the change that the world needs from within us. The change begins with on the inside.

*BENEDICTIONS:*
MAY THE LORD GRANT US THE WILL THAT IS COMMITTED TO A HOLISTIC CHANGE OF HEART. AMEN.

*GOD BLESS YOU!*
*HAPPY SUNDAY!*

_FR GERALD MUOKA_

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