In the gospel reading of this 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year A (Matthew 3:1-12), John the Baptist issues an urgent call: “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” A different translation puts it this way, "Turn to God and change the way you think and act because the kingdom of heaven is near." This translation makes a lot of sense when we think about the advent season.
The word, “Repent” means “to change one’s life”; “to change the way one thinks”; “to change the way one acts”. This understanding is consistent with Romans 12:2 where St. Paul uses two specific phrases to describe a repentant attitude: “Do not be conformed to this world” and “Be you transformed by the renewal of your mind.” So, repentance is not just about obtaining the forgiveness of sins but it is, more so, about being repentant enough to be a child of the kingdom; repentant enough to deal with the enemies of the soul; repentant enough to so see the world from an eternal perspective. So, the Advent call for repentance is a call to get rid from our life and our heart every property that belongs to Satan—things like anger, wrath, revenge, hatred, pride, jealousy, lust, gluttony, debauchery, covetousness, slander, unforgiveness, wickedness, etc., for these are deadly poisons to a soul that seeks the kingdom of God. It is also an invitation to live life fully by letting go of things like ingratitude, jealousy, and envy for we cannot attract what we attack; things like bigotry, racism, cynicism, gossips, and a judgmental spirit, for down deep within us we are no better than others; things like worrying, fear, procrastination, and self-deprecation for these detract from our trust and faith in God; things like misery, nonchalant spirituality, and uncharitable living for life is just too short to be wasted living like that.
My friends, Advent is a season that calls us to let our eyes see the best in us and in others and to celebrate the good in us and in others; a call for us to let our words edify the soul, our hearts forgive the worst, and our minds forget the bad and the ugly. It is a call for us to stand up for what is right, for what is just, and for what is fair. It is a call never to allow ourselves to be dragged into endless and useless fights, quarrels, negativity, and debasement. It is a call for us to be reconciled with God, with our neighbor, and with ourselves. It is a time that warns us of complacency in responsible living, procrastination in what should be done today, and unbelief in the Word of God. It is a time that calls us to “Let go”, “Let God”, and “Get going” for we do not know the day nor the hour of our visitation. May God bless our advent preparation so that it may bear the desire fruit in our relationship with one another and with God!