Saturday, December 08, 2012
2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT – C
2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT – C
Bar 5:1-9 / Phil 1:4-6, 8-11 / Lk 3:1-6
Jerusalem, put off your garment of mourning and unhappiness, put on the splendor and glory of God forever. Wrap yourself in the mantle of holiness that comes from God, put on your head the crown of glory of the Eternal One. For God will show your splendor to every being under Heaven. He will call your name forever, "Peace in Justice" and "Glory in the Fear of the Lord." Rise up, Jerusalem, stand on the heights. Look towards the East and see your children gathered together from the setting of the sun to its rising, by the voice of the Holy One, rejoicing because God has remembered them. They left you on foot, taken away by the enemy. God will lead them back, carried gloriously like royal princes. For God has resolved to bring low every high mountain and the everlasting hills, to fill up the valleys and level out the ground, in order that Israel may walk in safety under the Glory of God. Even the forests and the fragrant trees will give shade to Israel at God's command. For God will lead Israel with joy by the light of his Glory, escorting them with his mercy and justice.
PHILIPPIANS 1:4-6, 8-11
When I pray for you, I pray with joy. I cannot forget all you shared with me in the service of the Gospel, from the first day until now. Since God began such a good work in you, I am certain that he will complete it in the day of Christ Jesus. God knows that I love you dearly with the love of Christ Jesus, and in my prayers I ask that your love may lead you each day to a deeper knowledge and clearer discernment, that you may have good criteria for everything. So you may be pure of heart and come blameless to the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of holiness that comes through Christ Jesus, for the glory and praise of God.
It was the fifteenth year of the rule of the Emperor Tiberius: Pontius Pilatus was governor of Judea; Herod ruled over Galilee, his brother Philip ruled over the country of Iturea and Trachonitis; and Lysanias ruled over Abilene. Annas and Caiaphas were the High Priests at that time, when the word of God came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the desert. John proclaimed a baptism for repentant people to obtain forgiveness of sins, and he went through the whole country bordering the Jordan River. It was just as is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah: Listen to this voice crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make his path straight! The valleys will be filled and the mountains and hills made low. Everything crooked will be made straight and the rough paths smooth; and every human being will see the salvation of God!
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.
Christmas celebration seems to start earlier and earlier each year. Christmas carols are heard throughout October, November and December. Christmas caroling and parties by schools and offices, as well as churches, take place every day. By the time December 25 comes, people are worn out by the Christmas celebrations. The historic "Twelve Days of Christmas" only begins on December 25, yet you can hardly bear hearing another Christmas carol by that time.
No wonder Advent seems lost in the rush of Christmas celebrations. So, what to do with Advent? It is too important a season to ignore. Yet, it is too difficult to observe it properly. Many parishioners complain if the singing of Christmas hymns and carols in church is delayed until December 24. Many parish priests feel the tension between the proper liturgical celebration of Advent and the pressure to celebrate Christmas throughout December. The parish, which is strict about keeping the mood of Advent seems to be out of step with the rest of the world. So, how do we keep a proper celebration of Advent with its message of "Prepare the way of the Lord?"
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. 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, the Savior. 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 God.'"
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 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.
"Prepare the way of the Lord!" 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. Parties and family gathering 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.
… for the speedy recovery and healing of Mommy Carmen
… Birthday: Wilfredo De Leon
… In Memoriam: Gloria C. Orbin
… for those affected by Typhoon Pablo
… for the eternal repose of the soul of Dolores Tan. Eternal rest grant unto her and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Kris C. Malcontento
- Wedding Anniversary: Dr. Moises & Susan Soncuya
- Wedding Anniversary: Jay & Cherry Javellana
… for families who are in need of healing
… 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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