Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
December 7, A.D. 2008
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
2 Peter 3:8-14
A reflection on today's Scripture:
St. Mark was the first of the followers of Jesus to narrate the most important words and events in the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. He invented the form we call a "Gospel" and he begins his work by telling us about the man who prepared the way for the mission of Jesus -- John the Baptist. As this fiery prophet, dressed so strangely in a garment of camel hair, prepared the people of his day for the preaching of Jesus, so he prepares us on this Second Sunday of Advent for another coming of Christ this Christmas. Soon, we'll be receiving greetings from our friends, messages filled with words like "love," "peace," "joy."
Will those words mean much to us this year?
Let's listen to what John is saying. He is calling us to change our hearts. He knew that before the hearts of his listeners would be ready to receive the Good News of their salvation, they needed to humbly repent of their sins, and get rid of their pride.
Lest the people think that he himself was the Messiah, John firmly asserted that "one mightier than I is coming after me." The message for us this Advent is to keep our eyes on Jesus, whose message is in danger of being dismissed as "old hat" and unrealistic. After all, we've seen very little of peace or brotherly love in our world. Unless we seriously resolve to look with fresh eyes and open hearts at the Advent Scriptures, we'll never be moved to action by the message they contain. So often we've been deceived by the promises that life can be better, or that our love can change the world. How many believe that peace is really possible?
Anger and frustration in our nation combined with a yearning for change and new stirrings of hope brought many Americans to the polls this November. Human nature lives on promises, and while we always take the risk that our hopes will again be crushed, we cannot live without that hope. Our new leaders need the power of God and our prayers and faith support to make their dreams of change come true.
Those of us with faith in Jesus Christ know that the promises first preached by the Son of God on the hillsides of Judea and Galilee have come true over and over again to past generations of Christians. Because they come from the mouth of the God-Man, they can come true for us as well. If only we heed the call of John the Baptist to repent, to come out of our darkness into His Light, and to stir up our energy once more to really live His Good News in word and action, we are giving God a chance. In a sense, Christmas is what we make it. Taking this strange prophet seriously may just unleash astonishing miracles of grace.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Second Sunday of Advent
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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