I would imagine that in our lives we hear numerous voices.
Some voices are ones that we welcome — these would be the voices that we hear in the call of the sacraments of Matrimony or Holy Orders. “I., N., take you N. to be my husband/wife.” Or in Holy Orders: “Have you found these men worthy?” This voice is not only calling us to a vocation, but this voice is also calling us to a prophetic role to serve as the Lord Jesus Christ has called us to serve him, simply, by loving God and loving our neighbor.
My brothers and sisters, this second Sunday of Advent is offering us a reminder that we are being called by the Lord to live out a prophetic role in the world and to use our voices to share that with the world. This prophetic voice will be a challenge if we strive to live it fully, but it is a challenge nonetheless. As Christians we are obliged to accept.
An example of the prophetic voice would be the late Holy Father St. John Paul II. His voice was offered to our world through his pontificate, and today his witness, his voice, and his example have inspired millions.
Yet, whose voice inspired the late pope? Whose voice inspired the saints? Whose voice inspires us today?
Obviously it is Christ, but during Advent we hear another voice that calls us to change and repent – the voice of John the Baptist. The voice of the Baptist challenges us to live out the prophetic role of pointing others to Jesus Christ! It is Jesus Christ that the world so desperately needs today and we have to be the voice that clearly speaks this to the world.
My brothers and sisters, will you be the voice for the voiceless? Will you be the voice for the ones who wish that we simply say nothing? Will you be the voice that calls out to a world that seems to enjoy the darkness?
This weekend we have many witnesses in our congregation. Men and women who, through the sacrament of marriage have weathered the storms of trial and despair; yet, it does not end there! These same men and women fight the daily onslaught temptation to give into the world of pleasure and say, with hands outstretched, into your hands Lord we commend our spirits, our bodies, and our very selves.
My brothers and sisters, these voices need to be heard and welcomed in our world today and, through voices like these, we can become the prophetic voice that our world needs.
However, I would be remiss if I did not also speak about the numerous voices that priests offer — yes, our priests! It seems strange that, as a priest, I am speaking of priests, but I will say that the priest wants his voice to be heard as well because he speaks for the True Shepherd of the flock.
These faithful stewards remind us daily of turning away from ourselves and turning towards Jesus Christ. As St. John Vianney was quoted as saying when trying to find his parish church, “If you show me how to get to Ars, I will spend the rest of my life showing Ars how to get to heaven!”
As we enter this second week of Advent, may we remember that the voices of many others will try and drown out the voices of these witnesses, but if we can discern properly and completely we can hear the voice of Jesus Christ through the example of these men and women.
In marriage a couple declares, “I take you to be my husband/wife — I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad — I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” In a similar way the Lord Jesus Christ wants to also espouse us to himself when we receive Holy Communion. We say to him, “Through the reception of this Most Holy Eucharist, may my heart always be united to yours and may my voice be heard through the world today!”
Advent is a time of waiting and preparing for the coming of the King this Christmas. John the Baptist has stated that we need to make straight the ways of the Lord. As a personal invitation I would like you all to make straight the way of the Lord by returning to the sacrament of confession. It is my hope that confession will help us to straighten our paths as we follow Christ.
I also ask us to pray for those in our community who are offering their prophetic voice for Jesus Christ:
- The married couples who continue to say to Jesus Christ—Yes!
- The priest who offers his body so that we can receive the Body of Christ.
- The consecrated religious who offers her service to the Lord and, like Mary says, “Be it done unto me according to thy word!
- The single who says, “Lord I come to do your will!”
May we open our hearts and souls this Advent and welcome the Christ Child as did our Blessed Mother and her faithful Husband St. Joseph.
Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church Pray for us.
To download a PDF version of this homily, click here: Second Sunday of Advent