December 8, 2013

2nd Sun. of Advent

December 8, 2013:   2nd Sunday of Advent

(Advent Sunday trumps Immaculate Conception, so we celebrate Mary tomorrow.)

Readings

  • Is 11:1-10   A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse.  The Lord's Spirit shall rest upon him:  of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord.  He'll judge the poor and afflicted with justice. World will be in harmony; earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord.  Gentiles will seek out the root of Jesse.
  • Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17  "Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever."    The king shall govern with justice, rescuing the poor and afflicted.
  • Rom 15:4-9  Hope.  May God grant you harmony.  Welcome one another.  Christ became a minister of the circumcised to confirm the promises to the patriarchs and so Gentiles might glorify God.
  • Mt 3:1-12  John the Baptist preached, “Repent; the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  Isaiah spoke of him:  "A voice crying out, 'Prepare the way of the Lord.'"  Many went to him for baptism, acknowledging their sins.  He told the Pharisees coming for baptism:  "Vipers!  Produce good fruit as evidence of repentance.  I baptize you with water, but one mightier is coming to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire and will gather the wheat but burn the chaff."
Pope Francis
  • Angelus:  We turn with joy to the beauty of the Mother of Jesus, our Mother, full of grace!  Mary teaches how to live Advent waiting for the Lord.  The Immaculate Conception was the fruit of God’s saving love.
Challenges from urban cultures:   See God dwelling in our cities, accompanying people’s search for meaning, and fostering community and justice.  Different lifestyles and daily rhythms express the religious dimension of life; people’s struggles can include a deep religious sense.  Let’s enter into dialogue.  To evangelize in urban cultures, where approaches to life are in contrast with the Gospel, we need innovative spaces and possibilities for prayer and communion more attractive and meaningful to city dwellers.  The same cultural changes are affecting rural areas now too. 
Our evangelization needs to shed light on new ways of relating to God, others, and the world, to inspire essential values, reach to new areas, and bring God's word to the soul of cities.  Cities are multicultural; people interact and share dreams, and subcultures practice segregation and violence.  We must serve the difficult dialogue among people with means to develop their lives, “non-citizens,” “half citizens,” and “urban remnants.”  Cities offer possibilities but also present obstacles; the contrast causes suffering.  We must understand protests for freedom, a voice, and justice. 
In cities, human trafficking, the narcotics trade, abuse of minors, abandonment of the sick and elderly, corruption, and crime take place.  Possible places of encounter and solidarity are places of isolation and distrust.  Houses and neighborhoods isolate and protect rather than connect and integrate.  The Gospel can restore human dignity.  Jesus wants to give abundant life; the sense of life the Gospel proposes is the best remedy for city ills.  Uniform, rigid evangelization isn't suitable, but fully meeting challenges as a leaven of Gospel witness will bear fruit in our cities and also make us better Christians.  (2.I, 71-75; pp. 59-62)
      Reflections
      • Creighton:  We're in a time of anticipation and hope.  Isaiah foretells a world with justice for the poor, wisdom, and peace.  What can I do to help this happen around me?  We all need to repent, produce good fruit, and prepare the Lord's way.  With our cooperation, Jesus can be born and grow in us daily as we await Christmas.
      • RC.net:  Isaiah foresaw God raising up a Messianic King, with the Spirit's gifts, to establish God's kingdom and rule forever.  Jesus, Messiah-King, overcame death and makes us citizens of heaven.  Live in joyful hope that he'll establish his kingdom of justice, love, and peace.
      John the Baptist wanted to point others to Christ.  Fire was associated with God's presence, action, glory, protection, holiness, justice, and his wrath against evil; it was also a sign of the Spirit's power, presence, and purification.  May we be set aflame for God, eager to be changed by God's word and the Spirit's power, and eager to point others to Christ through our lives.
      Music
      • John/ Winter (gospel) [leadsheet and related note]
        Apparel

        • Lamb tie bar; bear tie pin, lion and cow pins:  wolf as lamb's guest, calf and lion browsing together, cow and bear grazing, lion eating hay (1st reading re Messianic peace)
        • Tree pin:  stump of Jesse (1st reading)
        • "Scales of justice" pin:  judgment (1st reading, psalm)
        • Peace-sign tie bar:  Peace shall flourish (psalm)
        • "Children around the world" tie:  child will guide them; peace and harmony (1st reading)
        • Purple shirt:  Advent season
        Dress your life!


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