Preparing the way for Jesus

2nd Sunday of Advent
Beloved in the Lord Jesus, in the 10th Century BC, the Israelites were under the leadership of King Saul. It was a difficult period because they were constantly being attacked by enemy tribes.
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Now there came a day when Israel was in a face-off with the brutal Philistine tribe; on that day, Jesse called his youngest son David in from the field – he was a shepherd – and asked him to take some food to the front lines of the army, where his older brothers were facing down the Philistines.
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So young David made his way there, and on arriving, he saw the worry on the soldier’s faces and asked what is going on. ‘Hey kid, you see that tyrant of a Philistine down there – the one that is over 6 cubits tall – somebody has to fight him. If we lose, we’ll be slaves of the Philistines. But who do we have that can beat that giant?    He said that, because Goliath’s height of 6 cubits works out to over 9 feet tall, he WAS a giant.
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So little David goes straight up to King Saul and says, I can fight him! ‘you kid?’ come on! Seriously King, in my work as a shepherd, I’ve killed a lion and a bear with my own hands, and I can beat Goliath.
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So Saul said, ‘Why not give the kid a shot?’ But you better put on my armor. So he put on his armor, and gave him his heavy sword, but it was way too heavy. ‘I’m not used to these, he said. So David took it all off, and without any armor, ran down toward Goliath with only his trusty sling-shot and staff. He stopped at the brook, to collect 5 stones and then ran toward the towering monster.
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Looking down at him, Goliath said with disdain: ‘Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” I will give your flesh to the birds of the air. Then David said, “You come to me with sword and spear; but I come in the name of the LORD of hosts, this day the LORD will deliver you into my hand.
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David ran to the right, then to the left, and then, taking careful aim, shot a stone that embedded itself in Goliath’s forehead. The giant came towering down in a thud; then David took Goliath’s own, huge sword, and cut off his head.
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Friends in Christ, The victory of little David over Goliath is a ‘type’, a symbol that points to something greater. Goliath was 6 cubits tall, his spearhead weighed 6 hundred sheckels, and he wore 6 pieces of armor: 666. This cruel giant is a symbol of the Devil. And against all odds, a little shepherd – defeats him.
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David is a ‘type’ of the coming Savior, Jesus, who will call himself the Good Shepherd. It will be Christ who will defeat the Devil, the seemingly unbeatable monster, not by a sling shot, but with the Cross.
The story of the Old Testament is filled with ‘types,’ images, prophecies and symbols: and these ‘precursors,’ were preparing the way for the Savior. The final and greatest of these precursors is encountered in the gospel today: St. John the Baptist. St. John represents the last and final preparation for this long foretold Savior. He was the ‘voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord.’
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How many hundreds of prophecies pointed to this coming Christ.
His Incarnation was foretold: ‘the Desired of all nations shall come… thy King will come the just Savior.’
His birth was foretold: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.’
His mission and preaching were foretold: For it was written: ‘Behold, I myself will seek my sheep, I will save my flock.’
And his Passion: ‘they will tear holes in my hands and feet.’
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This Messiah had been foretold in types and signs for a thousand years, but then comes St. John the Baptist. His followers say to him, ‘Is Jesus the excepted Messiah?’ ‘Go ask him, says St. John. So they go to Jesus and say to him:’ Art thou he who is to come? And he answered them, ‘go and report to John what you have heard and seen; the blind see,[i] the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise, the poor have the gospel preached to them.
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Why does Our Lord give this answer? Because he is reminding them of many things that were foretold about the coming Savior. Isaiah said that the Redeemer would cure the blind, and the lame and the deaf, and that the dead would be raised – all of which they were seeing Jesus do.
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You know, history is full of famous religious leaders. Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, LaoZi, Bahaullah, Joseph Smith, and many others. Of these religious figures then we must ask them: ‘What record was there before you were born, that you were coming?[ii] Buddha had no one to foretell his birth or his message. For Confucius, the events of his birth and his mother were not recorded, nor were they written down centuries before his arrival.
There were no predictions about Bahaullah, Joseph Smith, or Mohammed, or anyone else. They just came and said, ‘Here I am, you must believe me.’
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But the collection of the prophecies of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are simply staggering. It was a torrent of prophecy that preceded Him. Oh, He is the Savior, the one foretold!
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St. Paul, writing about the Old Testament says:[iii] ‘What things soever were written, were written for our learning: that, through the comfort of the Scriptures, we might have hope.
We believe. We believe Lord, that you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who have come to save us from our sins.
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Advent is a time in which our hope is raised up.
‘What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?[iv]
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During this season, may the Blessed Virgin obtain a sure hope for us, in the confidence and faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Peter]

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[i] Isaiah 35:5; 26:19

[ii] It is Fulton Sheen who makes this point.

[iii] Rom 15:4

[iv] Rom 8:31

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