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Repent for Our Worldliness

December 8, 2013

Reflection

 

Today is the second Sunday of Advent.  On this day we light the second candle, the Bethlehem candle, to remind us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  While we anticipate Jesus’ first coming as our Savior, the readings today draw our attention to Jesus’ second coming as our judge and the true redeemer of the world.  These scriptures cause us to repent for our “worldliness,” especially during the Christmas shopping season when Christmas gifts seem to matter more to us than being present for one another.  Offering someone hope during this advent season will go a lot further than a battery-operated Santa Clause (even with Duracell batteries!).  Let’s trust one another on this one.

 

Thought Questions

 

Who can I gift with my presence this Advent? (A prisoner? A sick relative/friend? A shut-in? A stranger?)

What ‘worldly’ Christmas things can I do without this year?

 

Prayer

 

O God of Justice and Redemption, you are the true ‘Way Maker.’  Help us to find more richness in the gifts of your Holy Spirit than in the material gifts we find so alluring during this time of year.  Grant that we may be peace makers and comforters to everyone we encounter.  Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from all evil.  Amen.

 

By Marcus D. Jacques

 

 

Readings

 

Reading 1 IS 11:1-10

 

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
but he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
On that day, the root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

 

Responsorial Psalm PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

 

R. (cf. 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.


O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
he shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment. R./

Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth. R./

For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save. R./

May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness. R./
 

Reading 2 ROM 15:4-9

Brothers and sisters:
Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, 
that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures 
we might have hope.
May the God of endurance and encouragement 
grant you to think in harmony with one another, 
in keeping with Christ Jesus, 
that with one accord you may with one voice 
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, 
for the glory of God.
For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised
to show God’s truthfulness, 
to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, 
but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written:
Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles
and sing praises to your name.

 

Gospel MT 3:1-12

 

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

John wore clothing made of camel’s hair 
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves, 
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you, 
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit 
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, 
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor 
and gather his wheat into his barn, 
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

 

 

Tags: online advent retreat, retreat, advent, advent retreat, repent, worldliness, savior, christmas gifts, santa clause, hope

Comments

Paulette  |  Inglewood  |  December 9, 2013  |  1:02 AM

Thank you for making me think about how I can be a gift to others. The words of St. Paul on encouragement keeps my focus on being a  positive leader in my place of work. The Father Bill quoted Nelson Mandela. Reality Check! Thanks for that reminder.  

Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”


Nelson Mandela


Fr. Bill  |  Los Angeles  |  December 8, 2013  |  5:00 PM

The second candle, the Bethlehem Candle: who knew? I must have had to know that to get out of the seminary, but I'd forgotten it. How wonderful. It makes me think....when He came to us 2000 years ago, God came to Bethlehem, "the house of bread," (the Hebrew meaning of Bethlehem). I wonder if it is telling us that God always wants to "feed us." So, His coming to me this year, and every day, is in some way meant to "feed me." I guess I wonder if I'm recognizing the meal when I see it, and I wonder if, as my body fattens, my soul may be starving. Thanks, Marcus, for making me more aware of the Mystery that surrounds us.


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