THEME: COMFORT MY PEOPLE
READINGS: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11/ 2 Peter 3:8-14/ Mark 1:1-8
Second Sunday of Advent
Christmas is less than three weeks away, but the usual joyful anticipation for its celebration seems to be overshadowed by the gloomy cloud of the coronavirus disease – 2019 (CoViD-19) pandemic. This is not surprising because, some people painfully have lost dear ones to the deadly coronavirus disease, while others have lost their jobs or have shut down their businesses. Still some others have missed some good prospects or have had to cancel their weddings, for instance. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the havocs caused by the current pandemic.
This notwithstanding, the Word of God assures us of His concern for our plight and His intention to deliver us: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God…. Behold the Lord comes with might” (Isa. 40:1, 10). These words were first addressed to the Jews who were then suffering in exile in Babylon due to the virus of sin. Happily, those Jews who accepted the message of God with faith and prepared their hearts by seeking God’s forgiveness were eventually delivered from exile and returned to the Promised Land.
Similarly, when the whole world was exiled from God because of the virus of sin, He was concerned; and so, He sent His Son to save us. This time the Word of God was not merely spoken to us, for His Son (the very Word of God) became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He came to suffer with us, die on the cross of Calvary and arose on the third day, making His blood the vaccine for our eternal salvation.
As in the case of the Jews in Babylonian exile, to be saved we must accept the message of God – namely, accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour – and prepare our hearts by seeking God’s forgiveness. Thus, John the Baptist appeared to proclaim Christ as the one we have to look to for our salvation, while he preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (cf. Mark 1:1-8). Therefore, let us prepare for our eternal salvation by renewing our faith in Christ and by seeking His forgiveness, and then He will vaccinate us with His saving blood.
Whereas the ultimate interest of Christ is in our eternal salvation, He is also concerned about the problems or difficulties we encounter in our daily lives. Thus, it is clear from the Gospels that besides preaching the message of eternal salvation, and dying and rising from the dead, our Lord fed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead, among others. In this light, therefore, our Lord is interested in delivering us from the CoViD-19 pandemic. However, as in the past, He wants us to prepare the way for His act of deliverance. How do we prepare the way? By
- Having faith in the Lord – that He is able to deliver us
- Turning away from our sins
- Strictly adhering to the CoViD-19 protocols
- Being honest and fair in trading sanitizers, face masks, soaps, etc.
- Being honest in the development of vaccines
- Being honest in the vaccination exercises
- Placing human life above profit in the fight against the pandemic
Then, soon, He who saves the world of the virus of sin, will deliver the world from the CoViD-19 pandemic. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis