Reflection on the Lectionary Readings for
December 8, 2019
Second Sunday in Advent
On this Second Sunday of Advent, our second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans encourages us to focus our Advent preparations in this way: “Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.” And how does Christ welcome us? With unconditional love.
This is the essence of Christian hospitality, a vital aspect of stewardship living. Fully embraced, it has the power to transform our lives and the lives of those who experience it through us.
The practice of Christian hospitality is also a way for us stewards to answer the call of John the Baptist, in our Gospel passage from Matthew. His words apply just as much to us today as they did to the people awaiting the Savior’s arrival. John says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” And he recalls the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” There is a definite connection between repentance and effective hospitality.
How can we make repentance a regular part of our everyday lives? We can make an “examination of conscience” a daily part of our prayers, thanking God for the times we said “yes” to Him, and asking forgiveness for the times we chose our own will. We can, and should, go to Confession this Advent. We can reach out to a family member or friend where there is distance or discord and make peace.
As we “straighten the paths” of our own hearts and minds, we become more hospitable people, better stewards of God’s grace and mercy, far more open and ready to invite others into our lives, homes, and parish. This is preparation fitting for our merciful Savior.