Second Sunday of Advent
December 6, 2020 — Year B
Readings: Is 40:1-5, 9-11 / Ps 85 / 2 Pt 3:8-14 / Mk 1:1-8
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
A few years ago, my pastor from the Philippines, from the time when I was a newly ordained priest, came to visit me in my church in the Tidewater area. He was planning to be there on a Saturday afternoon, and he told me that he would concelebrate with me at the anticipated Mass. His plan was to arrive at least an hour before the Mass, so he would be able to see the place and possibly meet some of my parishioners.
I told the ushers that I would be in my office and that, when my priest friend arrived, to tell him that I would be waiting for him there. And after almost an hour, he wasn’t there yet. That was quite unlike him, as I knew him to be a very punctual man. The ushers told me that they had not seen a priest entering the church.
Then I suddenly remembered that priests in the Philippines do not usually wear clerical collars as we do here, so there would be no way of identifying him. I went into the church and his cousin told me that Monsignor was in the sacristy and he had been there for almost an hour already. I was waiting for somebody who was already there.
Many of you have probably had this experience – waiting for someone who was there all along. In today’s gospel, St. John the Baptist proclaimed, “One mightier than I is coming after me.” During those times, God’s chosen people were waiting for the coming of the Messiah who would save them from their sufferings and hardships.
Some of them even thought that John the Baptist was the savior that they were waiting for. But John made it clear that his mission was to prepare for His arrival. He added, “I am unworthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of His sandals.”
But we all know that during this time, when John the Baptist was preaching in the desert, the Lord Jesus was already there in Nazareth. In fact, He had been in their midst for the past thirty years. Many of them had probably seen Him doing carpentry with St. Joseph, or they saw Him walking around their town, and some may have even talked to Him in person. They didn’t realize that the Son of God, the Messiah was already in their midst. They were waiting for somebody who was already there.
We are now in the second week of the season of Advent, a period of prayer, reflection, penance, and yes, a time of waiting. But we are waiting for the coming of our Lord who is already here in our midst. He is here present – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – in the Blessed Sacrament. He is present in our midst as we gather together to pray. He is here in the presence of our brothers and sisters, especially those who need help the most. And He is not only with us; He is within us, because we are temples of the Holy Spirit.
The first word in today’s first reading, which is taken from the prophet Isaiah, is something that we all need, especially during this time of the pandemic. Comfort. “Give comfort to my people, says your God.” Our awareness of the presence of the all-powerful God, who is not only with us, but is within us, should give us comfort.