God wants to pick you up and hold you close to Him

Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent Year B

by Fr. Tommy Lane

We are in the season of Advent, the season of waiting and hoping, waiting and hoping for God, waiting and hoping for the Second Coming of Jesus. As much as we are waiting and hoping for God, can you imagine how much more God is waiting and hoping for each of us, waiting and hoping that we will turn to him during this season of grace, Advent? We have heard so often of God’s love. Do you ever think about God’s love searching for you, longing for you, wanting no hindrance or obstacle between you and him?

Adam and Eve were hiding in the garden after eating the apple so God went searching for them? This is an excerpt of the 1996 Advent Pastoral Letter of Cardinal Desmond Connell of Dublin (then Archbishop),

“Adam and Eve are nowhere to be seen. They have gone into hiding after doing what he told them they were not to do. They have lost themselves in the shadows. How strange this seems. Do we not sometimes complain that God is hiding from us? That he is nowhere to be seen? If our hearts had not known the burden of sin we would never have wanted to hide: we would be out in the open and ready to walk with God. And then God asks a question: ‘Where are you?’ He is the one who begins the search. Does this not seem strange as well? We think of ourselves as searching for God and forget that it is he who is searching for us. Why should he bother to do so? Simply because he loves us. He has been searching in every century - throughout Old Testament times until he came at last with a human heart that could suffer for want of our love. ”

“[Jesus] invites us to come out of hiding and to walk with him: his suffering has earned us forgiveness of sin. “Where are you?” It is the question we may be asking ourselves as the dark side of the society we are shaping is making us fearful. Where are we indeed? Have we ignored God’s word on the difference between good and evil…? Are we willing to come out of the dark place in which we are losing ourselves?”

We can see this intimacy that God wants between him and us in the first reading today,

He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering the lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes. (Isa 40:11)

Imagine being held in the arms of God and leaning against his breast! This is the intimacy God wants between you and him. So during this season of Advent, let us ask ourselves is there anything keeping us and God apart? Is any sin of any kind in our lives keeping us separated from God? During this season of waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus, can we also look into our hearts and turn from sin to God asking forgiveness? You may say you have no sins and when you go to Confession you have to make up sins to tell the priest. Are you really that holy? There were only two people on this earth who had no sin, Jesus and Our Lady. If you say you have no sin are we expected to think that you are Jesus or Our Lady? If we say we have no sin do we not mean that we have allowed our consciences to go dead so that now we sin but are not even aware of it?

In the first reading we heard a beautiful prophecy about God liberating the Jews from captivity in Babylon,

“Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
Across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
Every mountain and hill be laid low,
Let every cliff become a plain,
And the ridges a valley;
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.” (Isa 40:3-5)

That prophecy has great meaning when we apply it to our own hearts. It is in our own hearts that we need to prepare a way for the Lord. It is in our hearts that we need to make a straight highway for God. It is the valleys of sin in our own hearts that are to be filled with God’s mercy and healing, and the mountains and hills of pride in our own hearts that are to become low. God is searching for us and wants to hold us against his breast.

The second reading today gives us a warning. God is patient with us now in order to give us time to repent but the time for repentance will not last. 

The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises...rather is he being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and melt away, the earth and all that it contains will be burned up. Since everything is coming to an end like this, what holy and saintly lives you should be living while you wait for the Day of God to come, and try to hasten its coming...So then, my dear friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live blameless and unsullied lives so that he will find you at peace. (2 Pet 3:9-12,14 NAB)

We are living now in this time of mercy when we have an opportunity to repent. Let us receive as much grace as we can from God during this time of Advent. The Lord has no limits to what he wants to give us, it is we who put limits on what he wants to give us. The Lord is waiting to receive you in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to take you in his arms and hold you close to his breast. Let us pray as much as we can during this season of Advent. During this season of Advent we think in a special way of Our Lady, pregnant with Jesus. Pray to her and ask her to help you prepare your heart for Jesus. So during Advent, as well as other types of prayer I recommend the Rosary to you in a special way.

Christmas will lack its full meaning if we do not prepare in our own hearts a way for the Lord. It is in our hearts that we need to make a straight highway for God. It is the valleys of sin in our own hearts that are to be filled with God’s mercy and healing, and the mountains and hills of pride in our own hearts that are to become low.

“Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
Across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
Every mountain and hill be laid low,
Let every cliff become a plain,
And the ridges a valley;
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.” (Isa 40:3-5)

God is searching for us and wants to hold us against his breast.

He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering the lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes. (Isa 40:11)

 Will you allow him to pick you up and hold you?

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Second Sunday of Advent Year B

Prepare the way of the Lord - Christ will come again 2008

Something new in the Judean desert and Advent has new graces for us 2011

Related Homilies: God is Offering You a Grace this Advent - Don’t miss out on it!

Advent - Preparing our hearts for the the Second Coming of Jesus