The readings for this Sunday are full of hope and enouragement – as we all know, we, Irish people are greatly in need of such hope in our present crises.
One can almost feel that these readings were selected specially for us!!!

The entrance antiphon which we sing in our community for the Mass of this Second Sunday of Advent expresses very well these sentiments of hope which God’s loving providence provides:

People of Zion, the Lord will come to save all nations, and your hearts will exult to hear his majestic voice. The people of God will sing songs of joy, like songs in the night. They will have gladness of heart. People of Sion the Lord will come to save all nations and your hearts will exult to hear his majestic voice. On every high mountain streams will flow and there will be light – as you are healed by the Lord. Yes on every high mountain, streams will flow and there will be joy, for your are loved by the Lord

In the Gospel this Majestic voice – the Word of God – came to John the Baptist in the wilderness. So too with us God’s word comes to us in the wilderness – in the ordinariness, of our own lives and in bewildering circumstances – if only we have an open ear and an open heart to listen and hear His message. John’s message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins is one of hope. No matter how far we may have strayed from God, He is always there at our side – for we cannot escape His all seeing eye – waiting for us to return. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15) our heavenly Father is always ready to embrace us once we repent of our sin and turn back to Him.

Recently I came across the following poem by Péguy – perhaps it may speak to you, our readers, as it did to me?

You may wonder, you may ask yourself: but how is it
That this fountain of Hope flows eternally,
Eternally young, eternally pure.
Eternally fresh, eternally flowing.
Eternally living…..
My good people, says God, it is not tricky….
If she wanted to make pure springs out of pure water
If she wanted to make springs of pure water,
Then she would never find enough of it in the whole of my creation.
Because there is not a whole lot of it.
But it is precisely with the impure water that she makes her springs of pure water.
And that is the reason she never runs out.
but that is also why she is Hope…
…and that is the most beautiful secret in the garden of the world!

And so we pray with St Paul in the second reading:

May our love for each other increase more and more and never stop improving our knowledge and deepening our perception so that we can always recognise what is best and so become pure and blameless and prepare us for the Day of Christ when we will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.