(Violet) Cycle A/Year II (December 8, 2019)

Is 11:1-10/Rm 15:4-9/Mt 3:1-12

John the Baptist begin his preaching by saying: โ€œRepent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Mt 3:2)!โ€ He is said to be the Elijah of the Messiah, the precursor of the Saviour. His mission is to prepare the way of the Lord by preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah. His goal is the repentance of the people who have been away from the statutes of God.

Advent is a time of preparation for the solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered. And the best way of preparation is the message of John the Baptist to the Jews before the coming of the Messiah: Repentance. Repentance first of all means being sorry of oneโ€™s sins. It is hard to be sorry for oneโ€™s since because many of us do not realize and accept that we are sinners. We always think that we have no sins or if we have sins, these are but venial. This is what usually happens because we compare ourselves with the sinners and the criminals. Since we have not done any horrible sin or crime, then we think that we are not sinners.

The truth is in the eyes of God, we are all sinners. The exhortation of Jesus is โ€œBe perfect for your heavenly Father is perfect!โ€ This demands that we must compare ourselves not with the sinners and the criminals but God Himself. Doing this, we discover that we are nothing but sinners. We are unworthy to be with God because of our sinfulness. Truly, we commit sins many times a day through our thoughts, words, deeds, desire and what we have failed to do. We need Godโ€™s mercy and forgiveness. For this reason, we need to be sorry for our sins so as to solicit Godโ€™s forgiveness.

But repentance is not simply being sorry for oneโ€™s sinfulness. It is also a willingness to humble oneself in front of God by asking His forgiveness. For us Catholics, we need to go to confession to a priest because Jesus, our Lord, has instituted this sacrament of reconciliation for us to receive Godโ€™s forgiveness for He said to His Apostles: โ€œWhatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth, will be loosened in heaven.โ€ Jesus has given His apostles, the bishops and the priests the power to forgive sins through the sacrament of confession. We need to avail of this awesome sacrament and we must never be shy or afraid because the priests are there only as instruments of Godโ€™s mercy and forgiveness. They will never retell our sins to others because they are bound by the seal of confession and they will never remember our sins since they are instruments of God who forgives and forgets.

Lastly, repentance demands personal commitment to renew oneโ€™s life according to the teachings of Jesus and the laws of God and of the Church. Genuine repentance means conversion which is turning away from evil and turning towards God. We must return to God by walking in the way of the Lord. This advent season is a privileged opportunity being given to us by the Church to renew our Christian life and commitment so that we may become worthy to receive Jesus in our lives this coming Christmas and onwards. Let us avail of the help of the Blessed Mother Mary through the attendance of Aguinaldo Masses or Simbang Gabi. We know that she will bring us to Jesus because where she is, there is her Son. And we know that she will not fail us because she too is our mother.