December 8, 2019 – 2nd Sunday of Advent
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120819.cfm)
Homily shared by Fr. Mar Masangcay, CSsR (a Filipino Redemptorist Missionary based in South Korea)
“Repent and Believe the Gospel”, when was the last time we heard those words? We usually hear those familiar words during Ash Wednesday, when we receive the ashes to mark the beginning of our Lenten observance. This call for repentance and faith is the first challenge Jesus posts us when He preached to us God’s kingdom. All His life has been dedicated to preach to us the Good News that God’s kingdom and Word is upon us. And the first response expected of us is “to repent and believe the Gospel”, i.e. repentance and faith.
Once again, we hear the same call to repentance and faith as forewarned by John the Baptist in today’s gospel. “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand”. Same message and challenge is presented us: Since the Lord at hand is coming, Repent and Believe in Him then.
But what does repentance and faith means? What does it mean to repent and believe in the Gospel? What does it require? What do we have to do?
To repent and believe, first, we should realize that “there is something wrong here” i.e. something is missing or lacking, or something out of sync or tune “yabag” happening in one’s life. If and when nothing wrong in one’s life, there is nothing to repent, change, and believe in. Second, we realize and admit that “I am the one who is wrong here”, perhaps the main source of it, and that no point of blaming others. Third, we admit that “I need to change and I need help” recognizing God’s mercy and the assistance of others. Fourth, we make a resolution that “I want and choose to be better than before”. And lastly, we commit to someone and something good and better in life, i.e. we declare “I believe in God”.
The challenge of repentance and faith requires then the realization that “There is something wrong”, the admission that “I am wrong”, the recognition that “I need help and need to change”, the resolution that “I want and choose to be better”, and the declaration that “I believe in God”.
It is like a special person is going to surprise you for a visit you in your house. You realize how messy your house is, and start to worry how to welcome your special guest. Then you admit that it is not only your house but moreso yourself is at mess. Then you try to do something and ask for help. In doing so, you resolve to make your house and yourself better because you now believe that your special guest look up to you and will make your life meaningful and better.
Repentance and faith always reminds me of Peter and Judas Iscariot. Both of them are apostles of Jesus, even the most beloved and trusted disciples (leader-treasurer), and have sinned against the Lord (denied-betrayed). What is the difference between them? Judas killed himself. He did not wait for the risen Lord. He did not give the Lord a chance to love and forgive him again. While Peter waited for the risen Lord. And thus gave the Lord a chance to love and forgive him again and anew. To repent and believe in the Gospel, then is our way of giving the Lord the chance to love and forgive us again and anew. It is all about giving God as well as yourself and others another chance in life.
The sacrament of reconciliation – popularly known as confession is our Catholic faith and church way of expressing our repentance and faith. During this Advent Season, we are encourage to go to confession as our way of repentance and faith to God so that the Lord have a chance to love and forgive us again and anew. So, go to confession these days.
Last Sunday, on the first Sunday of Advent, we are challenged to “Stay Awake and Be Prepared for He is coming”, today we are challenged to “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand”.
As we once again prepare to the Lord’s coming into our lives, may we always “repent and believe in the Gospel” so that His kingdom of love and forgiveness have a chance to be with us always.