SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT (2018)
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
There is a great deal of preparing that is meant to happen during the Advent season. We are meant to prepare for that day of celebration when we commemorate Christ’s birth on that first Christmas Day in Bethlehem. We are meant to prepare our hearts in the present for the coming of the Lord in the species of bread and wine in the Eucharist, a moment no less miraculous than what happened in that stable when farm animals witnessed the entrance of God into our world. Finally, we are called to prepare for that second and final coming of Christ, when God will appear as Judge. At the end of our lives, and at the end of the world when Jesus will come with power and great glory on the clouds of Heaven, He will bring all waiting to its everlasting completion.
Our need to prepare is great, and the task might seem overwhelming, until we recognize that all the preparing for past, present and future can be accomplished simultaneously, and needs to occur constantly, not just during the season of Advent. To prepare our hearts and souls for Christmas, is also to prepare for the end of our lives, and for the end of time. To prepare our hearts and souls for the precious sacrament of the Eucharist, is also to prepare for that moment when we will stand before God to make an accounting of our lives. The simple call to follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior prepares us for all, and compels us to make ourselves more worthy of the name ‘Christian.’
Prophets, like Baruch in our first reading, were frequently reminding theJewish people that they had not been forgotten by God. They were not unaccustomed to suffering, and their oppression by stronger foreign powers frequently punctuates their rich history. Although the Jews “were led away on foot by their enemies,” the prophets assured them that God would lead them back “in joy by the light of His glory, with His mercy and justice for company.” All obstacles would be removed, lofty mountains would “be made low,” and “age-old depths and gorges [will] be filled to level ground.” The Jewish people could rejoice, even in the midst of hardship and difficulty, because they were “remembered by God.”
It is this sentiment that is evoked by Luke in our gospel passage with his introduction of John, “the son of Zechariah,” who “went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” John the Baptist is the precursor of the Lord, encouraging people with the words of ancient prophets to “prepare the way of the Lord.” Commenting on this Sunday’s liturgy, Kimberly Hope Belcher, of Notre Dame, writes: “In Advent we wait to joyfully reap what Christ has sown. Painfully aware of our failures and factions, we look eastward, longing for the return of Christ who lays the smooth path of love. His Incarnation proves that even the division between God and sinful humanity is not too great for love to overcome. And, if that chasm can be bridged, we can both hope for and work toward peace and justice that will triumph over our… divisions.”
Our Advent liturgy calls us to prepare for Christ’s coming by increasing our love for God and for one another. Paul’s prayer for the Philippians in our second reading is that their “love may increase ever more and more… so that [they] may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” If we wish to heed the calls to prepare for the Lord then we must make an effort to be more loving, removing all the obstacles that prevent us from loving as we should. Acts of kindness should be plentiful and frequent, and not just relegated to the generous Christmas season. Reflecting on this second Sunday of Advent, Michael Simone, SJ, states that “When Christ comes again, may he find his disciples comforting a victim of human trafficking, giving encouragement to a homeless addict, repairing the damage inflicted on an abused spouse or mentoring an abandoned child. By these signs He will recognize their transformation. These disciples will be the wheat [God] gathers into his barns.” During this Advent season may we acknowledge that “the Lord has done great things for us,” and may that recollection “fill us with joy” and encourage us to become more loving.
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3 thoughts on “Second Sunday of Advent Refkection”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the mountains were brought low and the valleys were filled so that there was a leave playing ground???
Why is it that someone gets a little authority and then becomes the BOSS (Bossy) who thinks everyone has to be the way they think they( the boss) thinks ? I had breakfast today with a relative who complained about making sandwiches for the homeless this week…….. i guess there are different ways to do that and she was offended when someone (another sandwich maker) corrected her for how she made the peanut butter sandwich? I am sure no matter how it was made it tasted just as good either way to a homeless hungry appreciative person.
The discussion went to a wonderful bishop who is known to be ‘against war’ – a pacifist – who was visiting our parish tor confirmation today and someone who has fought in the Vietnam war referred to the bishop using an unflattering name—
people who do not agree with someone often do that!
Advent reminds all of us to ” try harder” and to be ”more loving”…try to see things from different viewpoints – It is not easy but we can listen to one another!
Maybe we can be transformed of transform someone else just by listening!
Maybe someone has a new way or better way to make a peanut butter sandwich or will decide to try it the way someone else has suggested ????
Someone should give a little — we could build that bridge so we can work together for peace and justice or making more sandwiches together !
Maybe it would end divisions ?? Maybe it would even make us both more joyous?
THEN WHEN CHRIST COMES AGAIN we will all be gathered with the TRANSFORMED ”wheat”….and God will gather us ALL into HIS barn.
May we all be found working for justice and peace for all people even if we might do it a different way then someone else…God made us all and loves us all– we may as well work together!
Thanks for that reminder that WITH Christ we can make the path a little smoother !
It is’ O K ‘ to think things can be done differently- so long as we work DOING IT TOGETHER!
Thank heaven for your insight this Advent, we so need your loving suggestions that will
help us to bring our love to yeh manger this Christmas with our petition for your good name
to be restored and your good self be returned to St. Isabelus Parish.
Thank you, Geraldine
The first reading took a moment to research. It was a very powerful combination. We ended the day taking older friends to hear the Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers performing the Messiah and more at the Sanibel Community Church. It was outstanding. What a powerful Sunday. Thoughts and prayers for Justice and return to our parish. But most of all strength and love for our Pastor and the blessing of having him near always. Richard and Kathleen Place
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