Saturday, December 09, 2006
2nd Sunday of Advent
December 10, 2006
2nd Sunday of Advent - C
Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the
splendor of glory from God forever: wrapped in the cloak of justice
from God, bear on your head the mitre that displays the glory of the
eternal name. For God will show all the earth your splendor: you will
be named by God forever the peace of justice, the glory of God's
worship. Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights; look to the east and
see your children gathered from the east and the west at the word of
the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God. Led away on
foot by their enemies they left you: but God will bring them back to
you borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones. For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and
gorges be filled to level ground, that Israel may advance secure in the
glory of God. The forests and every fragrant kind of tree have
overshadowed Israel at God's command; for God is leading Israel in joy
by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.
PHILIPPIANS 1:4-6, 8-11
Brothers and sisters: I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all
of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day
until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work
in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. God
is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ
Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and
more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of
value, so that you 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.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius
Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and
his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of
Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah
in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it
is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of
one crying out in the desert: "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
The main message of Advent is: "Prepare." We're already caught up
in preparations for Christmas with daily reminders of the number of
shopping days before Christmas. What a contrast to the call to
"prepare" that we hear in the Gospel today! John the Baptist, who
would probably be considered some kind of a "weirdo" in our day,
comes upon the scene with urgent words from Isaiah's prophecy:
"Prepare the way of the Lord."
Advent, one of the most wonderful seasons of the Church year, is almost
overshadowed by our preparations for Christmas. Instead of four weeks
marked by a mood of spiritual renewal as Christians prepare themselves
for the celebration of God's amazing gift of Jesus, Advent gets lost
in the Christmas rush. The Church's call to celebrate Advent properly
seems like "a voice crying out in the wilderness," in the words of
Isaiah in today's Gospel.
Appearing today at the center of the Advent stage is John the Baptist,
that strange figure who came out of the desert to announce the coming
of the Messiah and to call on all of us to prepare for the King. Of
course, John did his work when he and his cousin Jesus were about 30
years old, just before Jesus began his three-year public ministry. The
time to celebrate John the Baptist's important message is during
these weeks of Advent, as we look forward to celebrate Jesus' birth.
The Gospel writers believed that John the Baptist fulfilled the
prophecies of the Old Testament about God's messenger who would
announce the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. So John's appearance
in today's reading is linked with a prophecy from the Old Testament:
"As it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah - 'the voice
of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his
path straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill
shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the
rough ways shall be made smooth and all flesh shall seethe salvation of
John the Baptist preaches a fiery message of a "baptism of repentance
for the forgiveness of sin." This baptism is different from Christian
baptism that we have, which is a sacrament of God's grace. John's
baptism is a sign of repentance, which for us is our response to
God's call to receive Christ into our lives. The Greek word for
repentance is metanoia, which literally means "turning around facing
another direction." It is an honest and thorough and often painful
soul-searching change of direction of one's life. It is a deep
awareness of the need for God's cleansing power in our lives. It
marks a new beginning made possible by a loving God. It means new
priorities and values, a new way of looking at the world. God wants to
change us - to bring us joy and peace and fulfillment. Because we
continue to fail, repentance is a daily experience for the Christian.
God's faithful love and mercy reach out to us every day. No wonder we
begin our worship with confession and absolution. This is the only way
we can approach a holy and gracious God.
John the Baptist calls out to each one of us - to stop in the middle
of our frantic preparations for Christmas to hear the message of
Advent. We are called to examine ourselves, to repent and turn daily in
a new direction - towards God. God calls us to "prepare," but not
only in the ways of modern society. Advent and Christmas are wonderful
times of the year, even though they can also be the most stressful and
Parties and family gatherings and the exchanging of gifts are part of
the joy of this season. But let us commit ourselves to celebrating
Advent properly with its message, "Prepare the way of the Lord."
We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- In thanksgiving for answered prayers and the continued guidance of
- for the early recovery of Lolit.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Celso P. Villegas
- In Memoriam (+): Carolyn Young
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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