Dec. 10, 2017 - 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
John the Baptist is preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah. “Prepare the way of the Lord,” we hear him cry out annually on this Second Sunday of Advent.
John’s call is an invitation for people to turn their lives toward God by turning away from sin.
How does John say we accomplish this? He is very clear: a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
So our Advent preparations must include forgiveness. Forgiveness is not easy. In fact, it can be as difficult as making rough ways smooth, or filling in valleys and turning mountains into leveled places.
What can we learn from these images? Forgiveness may be difficult, but it is not impossible. Forgiveness takes work.
Forgiveness is not about forgetting. Forgiveness is about moving forward.
How does forgiveness work? God forgives us first. Pope Francis has said that because God forgives us so readily, we should never tire of asking for forgiveness.
We have to learn to forgive ourselves. We have to accept the reality that from time to time, we walk down the wrong path and make bad choices.
We say, “I’m sorry” and accept the forgiveness that is offered. We have to learn to receive forgiveness gracefully when it is offered.
And finally, we have to learn to forgive others. If Jesus can forgive those who condemned him to death and nailed him to a cross, then Jesus can certainly forgive us. So we have no excuse when we fail to forgive.
Forgiving others is our first step into a place of healing. When we stop carrying around grudges and resentments and wrongs, we are freed from them.
Advent is the time for turning toward God and righting the wrongs we have done. Forgiveness is life changing. Forgiveness gives us a life of second chances.
Forgiveness brings a life of grace. Forgiveness puts us back on the road to life with God.
Prepare the way of the Lord with a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and the rough ways will be made smooth.