Reflection for the Vigil of the 2nd Sunday of Advent, 2013

by Kathleen Flanagan, OSB

Readings: Malachi 3:1-4; Matthew 3:1-12

Are you comfortable?  Are you right with God?  Is everything going according to your plan?

John is calling to each of us, to you and to me.  Prepare the way of the Lord.  Prepare your heart, reform your life.  Reach for that holiness that is gift to us from God, for we are made in his image and likeness.  God so loves us that he is sending us Jesus, a savior, the Messiah.  During Advent we are given another chance to straighten up our lives, to open our hearts, to make room for our God.

Those who followed John and were baptized in the refreshing waters have confessed their sins and taken responsibility for their actions. John sees, really sees, those who are coming to be baptized. He challenges “a brood of vipers” to let go of their superficial, outward pieties and to show true signs of reforming their hearts. The coming of the Lord is at hand; we know not the day or the hour. We are called to conversion, to purify our lives, to get into right relationship with God. It is the time to make friends of old enemies, to listen to and to give voice to the cries of the poor, to bring peace on earth. Advent is that time of the year when we are challenged to prepare our hearts for the Lord’s coming anew into the world.  

As we enter into the second week of this Advent season we are challenged to turn whole-heartedly into the way of the Lord. Our God isn’t waiting for us, our God is coming towards us with all the grace we need to set the world on fire: on fire with peace, love and joy; on fire with praise and glory for the goodness of our God. All we need to do is ask.

No one likes to hear about sin and the need to reform our lives. A parish priest wrote the following to help his parishioners get back on track when the frenzied pace of “getting to Christmas” overcame the beauty of the season.  I offer it as a voice calling out:

Oh, you better watch out, you better not lie;
You better help out I’m telling you why:
The Messiah’s coming to town.

He knows when you are cheating.
He knows when you’re a fake.
He knows when you’ve been just or not.
So be just for justice’ sake.

He’s making a list of virtue and vice,
Gonna find out who’s foolish or wise: 
The Messiah’s coming to town.

He asks us to be ready.
He warns us, “Stay awake.”
He’ll gather all who’ve done his will,
And the others will all shake.

He’s coming anew,
Coming in might,
Coming in power and glory, what fright!
To judge all the people in town.