"We Are All Heralds of the Lord"

Second Sunday of Advent

5 December 2021

Novus Ordo Year C

“A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” Lk. 3:4

In the former times of Israel, great men had servants smooth out the roads for them. St. John the Baptist prepares the people of Israel for Jesus by preaching a baptism of repentance. Like St. John the Baptist, we all need to be heralds of the Lord and proclaim the blessings of salvation which Jesus Christ brings to the world with His coming as a little Babe on Christmas night in the stable at Bethlehem. His gospel demands that we repent of our sins. We need to be brought low from our pride, we need to make our crooked ways straight, and we need to smooth out the rough ways of our conduct. This is the role of St. John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus, the Messiah: “Every valley shall be filled; and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight; and the rough ways plain; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Lk. 3:5-6

Messianic Blessings

In the First Reading (Bar. 5:1-9) the prophet Baruch proclaims the coming of God’s Messianic Kingdom: “Put off, O Jerusalem, the garment of thy mourning, and affliction: and put on the beauty, and honour of that everlasting glory which thou hast from God.” Bar. 5: 1. The joy and peace of Jerusalem which the prophet is foreseeing, with the return of the Israelites from Babylonian captivity, is only a shadow of the great peace and joy which will come with the Messiah, Jesus Christ who, with His grace, will bring peace and joy, fruits of His Holy Spirit, to all mankind. In today’s Second Reading (Philippians 1:4-6; 8-1), St. Paul wants the people of Philippi to be filled with Christ: “Filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1: 11

Prophet of the Most High

St. John the Baptist, who is the greatest of the Old Testament prophets and the first of New Testament prophets, is the link between the Old and New Testaments. In today’s Gospel (Lk. 3:1-6) St. John the Baptist prepares the people for the coming of Jesus by preaching a gospel of repentance for sins: “And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins; As it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord…” Lk. 3:3-4

All Men Shall See the Salvation of the Lord.

Jesus will bring salvation to all men with His grace which will make their lives easy and light: “Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.” Mt. 11:29-30 These are the glorious times announced by St John and prophesied by the prophet Baruch: “For God will bring Israel with joy in the light of his majesty, with mercy, and justice, that cometh from him.” Bar. 5:9

Spread the Good News of Salvation

We, like St. John the Baptist, have to preach the good news of Jesus’ Coming by our words and good example. St. Jose Maria Escriva says: “Many great things depend – don’t forget it—on whether you and I live our lives as God wants” (The Way, #758) Do we give good example, do we encourage others, and do we pray for those who offend us? Jesus told His followers to love their enemies: “But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.” Mt. 5:44-5

The Salvation of Souls

All of us have to save a certain number of souls in our life. This is why we need to pray for all those with whom we come into contact, the good and the bad. God has ordained everything in our lives for a purpose: “And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” Rom 8:28 Like St. John the Baptist, we need to prepare men for the coming of Jesus. Jesus told St. Faustina: “When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself but radiates them to others.” (Divine Mercy, #1074) Our lives should be a means by which souls will receive God’s grace by our very presence.

Jesus Will Help Us

St. Paul tells us today’s Epistle to the Philippians: “Being confident of this very thing, that he, who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6. The good work is to spread the gospel. “The Day of Christ Jesus” is the Second Coming of Christ when we need to be ready for Him who will come to judge the all the world with power and glory. We need to be “sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ” Phil. 1:10 Then we will be filled with the blessings that Jesus brings us: “…filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1:11

The Praise of His Glory.

Jesus’ Coming gives the greatest glory to God the Father. This is of what the angels sang on Christmas night: “Glory to God in the Highest and peace earth to men of good will.” Lk. 2:14. This is the message of St. John the Baptist who came as a “voice in the wilderness” to the people to prepare their hearts for the Messiah: “…A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” Lk. 3:4 We too, like St. John the Baptist who was sanctified in his mother’s womb by the presence of Jesus, are filled with the Holy Spirit and give great glory to God and are: “Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved son. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Eph. 1:6-7 All those who repent and live virtuous lives, as St. John the Baptist proclaimed, will be “the praise of the glory” of Jesus Christ here in this life and for al

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