Second Sunday of Advent
December 4, 2022 •
Only Christ and His Church can establish real peace where the lion lays down with the lamb. . . .
What did John call the Saducees and Pharisees? A "brood of vipers". He uses this prophetic language. "You're a bunch of vicious serpents." He tells them, "Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance."
It is clear that to join the Kingdom of Heaven and to find the peace that Christ wants you to have, you first have to repent. That is required. Without repentance, there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no peace, and no share in Christ's Heavenly Kingdom. John was sent to prepare the people for repentance. "Repent of your sins, the Messiah is coming. He's going to give you a different kind of baptism. I'm just leading you to repentance, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
We know that when we receive baptism by the hands of the Church, we are filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. God literally dwells in us. It's this indwelling of God that allows us to change. To grow in virtue, and to be at peace with one another. It's the Holy Spirit that turns the lion into a lamb. The serpent into a child.
Once you've come to that grace, once you've been baptized, then you have to grow in those virtues. But you have all the grace necessary through freedom from sin and the light of the Holy Spirit; this spiritual, internal light to your mind.
You can now better understand the Truth precisely because the Holy Spirit enlightens your mind. . . .
Every human mind has the power to know the Truth. You have the power. God gave it to you, it's natural. But you cannot know the Truth unless a light illuminates it for you. If your mind is in darkness, then you are blind to Truth. The eyes were meant to see, that's why it's not an ideal to be blind. The mind was meant to know the Truth.
Without the light of the Holy Spirit, you cannot know truths outside of this world - you cannot know spiritual truths.
We are in darkness without the light of the Holy Spirit. If He is not dwelling in me, then that light is not illuminating the Truth. If I don't know the Truth then the Truth can't set me free, and I am a slave. A slave to my sinful and broken nature. A slave to the imperfections of that nature. . . .
You see, sin darkens the mind. It's one of the consequences of original sin. Our minds become darkened and can no longer perceive Truth. We're making the best decisions that we can while being spiritually blind. As Christians though, once we received the Holy Spirit, we can see clearly by His grace.
But what happens when I commit grave sin as a disciple of Christ? The Holy Spirit cannot abide in a soul in the state of mortal sin. He must leave it. If the Holy Spirit has left me because I'm in mortal sin, then I am in darkness again!
Now, I know what I need to do to receive the Holy Spirit again. I need to go to confession, repent of my sins, do my penance, and - as John the Baptist says - produce good fruit as evidence of my repentance. In other words, do my best to change. God doesn't expect perfection, He expects that I try.
But what is it like for a Christian, who had the Holy Spirit and the light of God, to lose that light and return to darkness when they fall into a mortal sin? I know most of you have experienced this. I certainly have.
It's important that we reflect upon this so that we better understand the temptations that happen when we are in grave sin.
Remember: your mind is now in darkness because the Holy Spirit is no longer illuminating you. However, that does not mean that you forget all the truth that you learned when you had the light.
You know you have to get back to confession. You know you have to say your prayers. You know you should not give up, you should get up and try again. You know all these things. You know God loves you.
But because you can't see it in your mind any longer, you begin to doubt.
Is 11:1-10; Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; Rom 15:4-9; Mt 3:1-12
Homily begins at 21:12