Sunday, December 9, 2018

Second Sunday of Advent

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 56 The Abbess's Table
Mass: Ba 5:1-9; Resp Ps 126; Ph 1:4-6, 8-11; Lk 3:1-6

God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.

Welcome to great and glorious Second Sunday of Advent. As said before, our liturgical texts are so rich with depth and meaning. For starters, here is the Collect from Mass, with one phrase (italicized) in particular I find fitting for today's celebration.

Almighty and merciful God, 
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Advent is a time for waiting to be sure. Still, we are not meant to sit around and simply contemplate eternal verities, as helpful as that can be at one time or another. We are meant to get busy, to 'set out in haste' to meet the Son of God the Father. I think first of Mary, who set out in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth (Lk 1:1-2). Then we have the baby in Elizabeth's womb leaping for joy at the arrival of the mother of the Lord. John, the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, was active before he was even born! And he kept busy. In today's Gospel, John is lively and tireless going 'throughout the whole region of Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins' (Lk 3:3). One might prefer the words of Ruth Burrows, who speaks of making an effort: There has to be effort in our daily living. We must climb the mountain heights where the God of Jacob makes his home, for we want him to teach us how to love him; we want to follow where he leads. In this way we learn to love more and more the God who loves us while crying out with the prophet Isaiah: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Lk 4:4-8). Living and true God, help us to not be anxious and troubled by the daily grind, to not be hindered in our search for you. Help us to make haste, to be bold and energetic and alive in the faith. May our love increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that we may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God (Ph 1:9-11). AMEN. 


Advent is a time to recognize the emptiness that needs to be filled in our lives, a time to smooth the rough edges of pride, and to make room for Jesus who comes.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, December 9, 2018)

Enter the inner room of your heart. Put your ear to the door, strain to listen to the tidings God's messenger brings.
(Bernard of Clairvaux)

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