December 4, 2016

2nd Sun. of Advent

December 4, 2016:  Second Sunday of Advent

See 26 connections with today?
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  • John/ Winter (gospel) [leadsheet and related note]
    The Kingdom of God is at hand, in our midst; this is the central message of all Christian mission.  John the Baptist invited people to "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  Jesus started his mission in Galilee with the same words; it brought the disciples on their first missionary experience.  The kingdom of heaven is the good news Jesus brings us.  God comes to establish his dominion in our history, in our everyday life, if we repent, make a change in our life, leave this world's idols, success or pleasure at any price, power at the weak's expense, thirst for wealth, and instead open the way for the Lord.  He doesn't take away our freedom but gives us true happiness. With Jesus' birth, God came to dwell among us, to free us from selfishness, sin, and corruption.  Prepare for Christmas by examining your conscience and confessing your sins in the sacrament of Penance.
    Read
    • 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."
    Reflect
        St. John the Baptist Preaching/ Preti
      • Creighton:  John the Baptist taught about baptism:  I baptize you with water, for repentance, but the one coming after me is mightier than I; I'm not worthy to carry his sandals. He'll baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire....”  My advent journey is not about me individually, but how I engage in community.  We're a divided people:  nations, communities, families.  People lose hope about the possibility of harmony.  We used to focus on conflict resolution, but now we focus on conflict engagement.  Even if something can't be resolved easily, we can engage the conflict, acknowledge the differences, and figure out how to live in harmony.  We can acknowledge someone’s perspective without agreeing with them.  When we hear or see things unconscionable to us, our work begins:  can I feel compassion for someone who proclaims such different values?  Can I listen and try to understand someone whose comments turn my stomach?  Can we join in glorifying God when it seems impossible?  We need God’s grace, the gifts of the Spirit,  May I live my baptismal promises and help create harmony....  Praying Advent
      • One Bread, One Body:  "The Advent of the Holy Spirit":  The Holy Spirit is recreating a world without violence, injustice, tragedy, harm, or ruin, one where everyone knows the Lord and lives and loves accordingly.  May we be immersed in the Spirit and be part of the new civilization of love.  The Holy Spirit is the true Christmas Spirit....
      • Passionist:  "Better things to come!"  Today John the Baptist makes his eccentric, spectacular appearance, attracting crowds, proclaiming repentance and the one to come.  We can be confident about the future, because we can look to the past and see God's loving work.  The 1st reading speaks of luxuriant growth after the destruction brought about by the rule of unfaithful Ahaz.  Isaiah looked for a human king, but we know about Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven.  Many challenges exist:  unkept promises, violence, mistrust, prejudice, poverty, selfishness,....  John points us to Jesus and reminds us of better things to come.  May we not stay stuck in the past but rather have a change of heart and let Jesus and God's Kingdom shine.
        During this first part of Advent (through 12/16), a focus is on Jesus' 2nd coming, when God will bring creation to perfection.  We know we need a Savior.  John challenges us to have joy and hope, confident in God’s goodness and mercy.
        • DailyScripture.net:  "John points to the coming of Christ and his kingdom ":  Isaiah foresaw God raising up a Messianic King who would rule forever, with God's Spirit resting on him.  He would establish God's kingdom not by force but by offering his life.  Jesus would defeat Satan and death, win pardon and reconciliation for us, and make us citizens of heaven.  The Lord wants us to live in hope that he'll return to establish his kingdom of justice and peace.
        Fire was associated with God's presence and action:  the burning bush, God's glory,  protection, holiness, just judgment, and wrath.  Fire was also a sign of the Spirit's power and presence; when Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, fire appeared over Jesus' apostles and disciples.  The Spirit purifies us of sin and inspires reverence for God and his word.
        John the Baptist wanted to point others to Christ and his kingdom. He was filled with the Spirit from the womb. He devoted his life to prayer and God's word.  His clothing was reminiscent of Elijah's. John pointed to Jesus as Lamb of God who would take away sin.  As earlier prophets did, he chided people for their unfaithfulness and tried to awaken repentance in them, unsettling them from complacency, and prepare them to recognize and receive Christ when he came.  John was more than a prophet; he was the Consoler's voice.  He completed the cycle of prophets from Elijah.
        Dress legend
        • 'Owl' pin:  A spirit of wisdom shall rest on him (1st reading)
        • Belt:  Justice shall be the band around his waist, faithfulness a belt (1st reading); John's leather belt (gospel)
        • 'Alps' tie pin:  There shall be no ruin on my holy mountain (1st reading)
        • 'Sun' pin:  His name shall remain as long as the sun (psalm)
        • 'Olympics' pin:  Earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord (1st reading); all nations shall proclaim his happiness (psalm)
        • 'Snake' tie pin:  "You brood of vipers!" (gospel)
        • 'Apple' pin:  Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance (gospel)
        • 'Stone' tie pin:  God can raise up children from these stones (gospel)
        • 'Fire' pin:  Every tree that doesn't bear fruit will be thrown into the fire; he'll baptize with fire (gospel)
        • 'Sandals' (not shown):  I'm not worthy to carry the sandals of the one coming after me (gospel)
        • 'Dove' pin:  He'll baptize you with the Holy Spirit (gospel)
        • 'Wheat' pin:  He'll gather his wheat but burn the chaff (gospel)
        • 'Lamb' and 'bear' tie bars, 'lion' and 'cow' pins:  Wolf as lamb's guest, calf and lion browsing together, cow and bear grazing, lion eating hay (1st reading)
        • 'Tree' pin:  Stump of Jesse (1st reading); the ax lies at the root of the trees (gospel)
        • 'Scales of justice' pin:  Justice and judgment (1st reading, psalm)
        • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Peace shall flourish (psalm)
        • 'Children' pin:  A child will guide them (1st reading)
        • 'Harmony' tie:  Peace and harmony (1st reading)
        • Blue shirt:  The earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea (1st reading); may he rule from sea to sea (psalm); John baptizes with water (gospel)
        • Purple suspenders:  Advent season