Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Second Sunday of Advent Scripture readings for Sunday, December 5, 2010,
cycle A. Lectionary # 4
Scripture: lectionary # 4. Isaiah 11:1-10. Psalm 72:1-2.7-8. 12-13.17.
Romans 15:4-9. Matthew 3:1-12:
Our saintly leader for this second Sunday in Advent is John the Baptist.
We recall how Mark, the Evangelist, actually starts his gospel with John
the Baptist as the voice crying out, “Prepare, the way of the Lord.” We are
to reform and renew our spiritual lives and discipline our bodies while
doing justice for others. The Kingdom of God is at hand. It is a Lenten
message, but also a call that sobers us to realize Advent is the time when
the King of the Kingdom comes among us and gets us ready also for his
Second Coming. Matthew has completed the first two chapters before he
comes to this scene. He is dependent on Mark for it, but he enchances it
with much more description about John the Baptist; it is thick description
and we get a picture of how the early Chritians envisioned John. John is
interested in preparing us for the coming of the Messiah who we believe is
Jesus,the Son of God and son of Mary.
The Gospel gives us the contrasting effects of the Baptism of John and that
of the Holy Spirit that the Messiah will give us. John invites the people
and even the Roman soldiers to receive a baptism of immersion in the Jordan
River. He is an apocalyptic preacher of strict divine judgment. Jesus, on
the other hand, is the one who will baptize in the Holy Spirit and that
baptism will be like a fire purging us from all of our sins effectively.
This latter baptism prepares us for the second coming of Christ the Lord
who also is the Messiah. We are thus made aware of the first coming of
Christ the Messiah through John the Baptist, then through the Holy Spirit’s
baptism we are made aware of the Lordship of Jesus and his ultimate coming
at the end times.
The other leading person for us is again the constant and classic prophet
Isaiah. He insists on the uniqueness of God, God’s oneness, and absolute
holiness. ( Remember his vision and the Sanctus ! Sanctus! Sanctus! Holy!
Holy!Holy! We Christians like that since it reminds us of the Trinity of
Persons in One God!) Isaiah helps us establish something about the Messiah
who descends from David and Jesse. Jesus is the shoot from the stump of
Jesse. The seven gifts of God’s Spirit are given to this Messiah: wisdom,
understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, fear and reverence for the
presence of God, piety.
Psalm 72 is a messianic psalm praising the works of the Messiah King. It
complements what we have seen at the end of the passage in Isaiah: “On
that day the root of Jesse is set up as a signal for the nations; the
Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (Isaiah