In the Second Sunday of Advent the First Reading comes from the Prophet Isaiah. The prophet has just announced the imminent destruction of the kingdom of Judah and its center, Jerusalem, with its temple. Disillusioned with King Ahaz, a contemporary of Isaiah, the prophet assures his people that God will raise up a faithful King who will rule his people with the mind and heart of God. With the help of the divine gifts, the future King will rule in a way that is pleasing to God. This new King will come from the ‘stump of Jesse’ (David’s father). This prophesy could only be filled by the Anointed One of God, Jesus Christ.
The Second Reading comes from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans. This "Letter" was written during a very difficult time for the early Christians, much like the Jews of Isaiah's time. Conditions were much the same, the Romans were about to destroy Jerusalem. Paul strongly exhorts all members of the Roman Christian community to be patient with each other (Jewish and Gentile Christians) and to live together in “perfect harmony,” accepting each other as Christ accepts them. Their unity and mutual respect glorify God.
In the Gospel Reading from Matthew we remember John the Baptist’s ministry to the Jewish people, and we recalled how he prepared the way of the Lord, as written in the Book of Isaiah. John called people to turn away from sin and bear the good fruits of a Holy life: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. We learn about these ‘Isaiah gifts’ of the Spirit when preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation.