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Liturgical day: Sunday 2nd (A) of Advent

1st Reading (Isa 11,1-10): On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.
Responsorial Psalm: 71
R/. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king's son; he shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment.

Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. May he rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save.

May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun his name shall remain. In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
2nd Reading (Rom 15, 4-9): Brothers and sisters: Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing praises to your name.
Versicle before the Gospel (Lk 3:4-6): Alleluia, alleluia. Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 3,1-12): In the course of time John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea and began to proclaim his message, «Change your ways, the Kingdom of heaven is now at hand!». It was about him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said, «A voice is shouting in the desert: prepare a way for the Lord; make his paths straight». John had a leather garment around his waist and wore a cloak of camel's hair; his food was locusts and wild honey. People came to him from Jerusalem, from all Judea and from the whole Jordan valley, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan as they confessed their sins.

When he saw several Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he baptized, he said to them, «Brood of vipers! Who told you that you could escape the punishment that is to come? Let it be seen that you are serious in your conversion, and do not think: ‘We have Abraham for our father’. I tell you that God can raise children for Abraham from these stones! The axe is already laid to the roots of the trees; any tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire. I baptize you in water for a change of heart, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than me; indeed I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire. He has the winnowing fan in his hand and He will clear out his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn in everlasting fire».

«Let it be seen that you are serious in your conversion»

Fr. Walter Hugo PERELLÓ
(Rafaela, Argentina)

Today, St. Matthew's Gospel presents us with John the Baptist inviting us to conversion: «the Kingdom of heaven is now at hand!» (Mt 3,2)

Many people went to him looking to be baptized and «confessing their sins» (Mt 3,6). But from the whole crowd, John fixes in on some individuals in particular, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, as much in need of conversion as they were obstinate in the denial of such a necessity. It is to them that the Baptist directs the words «Let it be seen that you are serious in your conversion» (Mt 3,8).

Having started Advent, a time of joyful anticipation, we find ourselves listening to John's exhortation, which wakes us to the fact that this wait is not a passive “quietism”, nor that we should think that we are already saved by the mere virtue of being Christians. This anticipation, this wait, is the dynamic searching for the mercy of God, it is the conversion of the heart, it is the search for the presence of the Lord who came, who comes and who will come again.

Advent, in reality is «conversion that crosses over from the heart into action and, consequently, to the eternal life of the Christian» (Saint John Paul II).

We should make good use of this opportune time which the Lord has given us to renovate our option for Jesus Christ, ridding ourselves of all the things that may be in our hearts and our lives that impede us from receiving him properly. The voice of the Baptist still resounds in the desert of our times: «Prepare a way for the Lord; make his paths straight» (Mt 3, 3)

Just as John was seen as a “voice crying in the wilderness”, we Christians are invited by the Lord to be voices that proclaim to our fellow man the desire for a vigilant wait «Prepare the ways, the Saviour approaches and we come out, pilgrims, to meet the Lord. Come, Lord, set us free, come to redeem your people; purify our lives and don't delay» (Hymn of Advent, The Liturgy of the Hours).