Verse of the Day
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that seeks to worship God reverently,
serve His creation faithfully
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Wednesday, Holy Mass - 6:30 PM
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Listening to the Word
December 8, 2019
Second Sunday of Advent 'A'
Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
On the one hand, salvation is God's doing, and we cannot earn His blessings. Today's first reading, from Isaiah, emphasizes that, through his Son, God does all the saving. On the other hand, we must cooperate with God because He cannot force his bounty upon us. That is why John the Baptist in today’s Gospel summons us to play our essential part by leading lives of repentance, conversion, and renewal, thus preparing the way for the Lord's second coming. We start this process by preparing for the celebration of Christmas, the Lord’s first coming.
Because of the bad example of the unfaithful successors of King David, the Chosen People are wavering in their loyalty to Yahweh. Isaiah, in the First Reading, tries to dispel their fears and stir up hope among his people with God’s promise of a new Davidic King (a son of Jesse), who will establish peace and a glorious Kingdom of justice on earth.
In the Second Reading, Paul is praying for the Jewish Christians of Rome and instructing them to draw endurance and encouragement from the Old Testament books. They are to live in harmony with Gentile Christians, accepting them as equals and brothers and sisters while they wait for the second coming of Jesus.
In today’s Gospel, John the Baptizer urges the Pharisees and Sadducees to give evidence that they mean to reform their lives so as to recognize and accept the promised Messiah. He challenges them to repentance, conversion and renewal. He tells the common people, who expect the Messiah to come in the near future, to act with justice and charity, letting their lives reflect the transformation that will occur when the Messiah enters their lives. In the same way, as we prepare to welcome Christ at Christmas, John advises us to "prepare the way of the Lord.
We need to prepare for Christ’s coming by allowing him to be reborn daily in our lives: Advent is the time for us to make this preparation by repenting of our sins and renewing our lives through prayer, penance, and the sharing of our blessings with others. Let us remember the oft-repeated words of Alexander Pope: "What does it profit me if Jesus is reborn in thousands of cribs all over the world and not reborn in my heart?” He means that Jesus must be reborn in our heart during this season of Advent and every day of our lives, radiating his love, kindness, mercy, forgiveness and spirit of humble service to the world through our lives.
We need to answer the call for a change of life. John the Baptist challenges our superficial attempts at change, demanding that, while obeying the commandments faithfully, we must correct our relationships with others, mend ruptures and frictions, face family responsibilities, work honestly and treat employees justly. Let us share our love with others as selfless and humble service. "Do small things but with great love" advise St. Theresa of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa). Therefore, following John's advice, let us celebrate the memory of Jesus’ first advent, prepare for Jesus’ daily advent into our lives through the Sacraments and the Bible, and wait for his second advent at the end of the world.