It is 9th December 2018. We celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent. The readings are from Baruch 5:1-9; the second reading is from Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11; and the Gospel from Luke 3:1-6. The Advent is the time to return to the Lord whatever the slavery, or captivity or addiction we are in. It is indeed the moment of God’s grace and goodness to everyone who look forward to the city of God. It is also the time of waiting as we prepare the way for the Lord to enter into our lives. We all need a serious preparation starting from our hearts to homes. We need to recognise those obstacles, the thorny bushes, the broken life-pieces need to be carefully collected and do away with it. We need to be truthful to ourselves and to embrace the fallen-self with the joy of the Advent. Everyone of us desires to return to our homeland and the dwelling abode of God. God wants to walk into our lives. God brings back all that was lost and all those who were taken into the custody of sin and shame. The prophet Baruch assures the natives of Jerusalem that God is bring back the people who were taken into captivity and restore their dignity. Beauty and grandeur will return to all who believe in God and acknowledge God. “For God will show all the earth your splendour: you will be named by God forever the peace of justice, the glory of god’s worship.” (Bar.5:3). As Jerusalem looked forward receiving its children, so our souls are looking forward to meet the Lord. The responsorial Psalm praises, “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” (Ps.126:3). St. Paul expressed his gratitude and prayed for the partners and the newly converts of the Gospel to be pure and blameless in preparing a worthy room for God inside the sanctuaries of their beings. When we continue to live in sin, we become so ungrateful, argumentative and fighting with everyone and picking on quarrels unnecessarily. We need to place our hope in the Lord Jesus and work our spiritual welfare on a daily basis. “The one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil.4:5). The Gospel invites us to listen to the voice of the John the Baptist. The Catechism teaches us in No.720: “Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to man of the divine likeness, prefiguring what he would achieve with and in Christ. John’s baptism was for repentance, baptism in water and the Spirit will be a new birth.” In everyone of us, there is a voice calling us to return to the Lord. More we silence the voice, or ignoring it, we allow the mountains of sin to develop in our lives. The voice of John the Baptism is still echoing in our hearts even today. “A voice of one crying out in the desert: prepare the way of the Lord.” (Lk.3:5). We need to make efforts to deal with our personal sins and ask for forgiveness from the Lord. The Advent is the time to visit those who hurt us and share a forgiving hug with that person. Repentance we all require must not just remain in being sorry for the sins but to have a radical change in our perceptions and relationships. We need to aspire for total reconciliation with one another and that is the perfect of way preparing the way for the Lord to come into our lives. Even if the other person is wrong, let us take that first step during the Advent to ask for forgiveness and to heal our wounds. No matter whether the other person would confess and acknowledge the part of hurting or not, let us humble ourselves to confess our failure in recognising the goodness in others. The best gift we could offer to anyone is the gift of mercy and forgiveness during this Advent. Let us peel off our ego, arrogance, pride and sins until we encounter Jesus our Saviour. May you have good day. God bless you.

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