“Raise Your Voice… Raise It And Do Not Fear.”

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

In the Readings of this Second Sunday of Advent, three great biblical figures: the prophet Isaiah, Saint Peter and Saint John the Baptist, show us that the mercy of God is infinite. He is always faithful. His patience is without limits with us. He continually gives us opportunities to return to Him.

In the Second Reading we heard the words of Isaiah. Through this great prophet, God spoke to the Jewish people exiled in Babylon. Before the exile, a number of Jews had abandoned their faith. They allowed themselves to be dazzled by the religious rites of Babylon and other pagan nations. These false religions offered instant salvation in return for unwavering devotion. Many left the true faith of their ancestors. They abandoned their God and began to adore the idols of a false religion. Even though they were unfaithful to Him on many occasions, God called out to them giving them an opportunity to straighten out their lives and go back to Him but they did not want to listen.

“Go up to a high mountain… raise your voice… raise it and do not fear.”

We should realize that God, sometimes, in spite of His great patience and mercy, tests us, as He tested the Jewish people during their exile. On occasion these tests can seem to us to be very harsh but in the end all that the Lord asks of us is that we stop looking for instant solutions to our daily problems and begin our return to Him. The exiled Jews in Babylon were subjected to the power of the invaders, losing everything they had. Afterwards the Lord, in His great mercy, told the prophet Isaiah, “Go up to a high mountain... raise your voice… raise it and do not fear.” That was when Isaiah told them the great news that their time of trial, their exile, had reached its end.

Saint Peter, in the Second Reading, says that it is useless to try to figure out when the second and final coming of Christ will take place. In Saint Peter’s time, and in the present times, there was, and there is, great anticipation over when the end times will occur. Saint Peter, speaking to his community, tells them that God always keeps His promises. And He warns them that what should be of importance to them is to be prepared because, “The day of the Lord will arrive like a thief.” Let us also follow the counsel of Saint Peter, trying to be prepared for this great event so that when Christ comes, in all of His glory, He will encounter us at peace with Him and with our brothers and sisters, and cleansed of sin.

The Gospel of Saint Mark does not mention the birth of Jesus nor does it speak about the life of the Lord before the beginning of His public life. We just heard the beginning of this Gospel that explains to us how Saint John the Baptist, the greatest prophet sent by God, began his preaching in the desert of Judea. His message and his preaching were very similar to Christ’s. He preached conversion, telling the Jews of his time that they should cast off false values and go through a complete conversion, a radical change in their lives. John, from the beginning of his ministry, warned that he had come to prepare the way and that behind him came another who was more powerful. John was a great man and a great preacher. He was the last prophet sent by God. He fulfilled his mission, with integrity, even unto giving up his life for the Master.

Let us follow the example of Saint John the Baptist: his valor and his exemplary life. God, throughout history, has spoken through the prophets. They revealed, little by little, the divine plan, the salvation of the human race through Jesus Christ.

We are in the Advent season, a time for conversion, a time to reflect, straighten out our lives and follow God more closely. In a society that has lost its sense of God, the Church invites us to meditate on our sins, to reacquire the principles, values and convictions of our Catholic faith.