Second Sunday of Advent, Deceber 4, 2016
Breaking Open the Word of God
Dear brothers and sisters,
The prophets nourished the hope of the people of Israel, especially at times when they felt defeated. Their prophetic messages, which denounced injustice and unfaithfulness due to their own bad deeds, do not stop at stressing the real situation of defeat and humiliation as a just consequence of their behavior. They also confirm the salvific will of God, which is made manifest through the forgiveness and restoration of the people. Where destruction reigns, life can blossom, from the dry stump, a new shoot may sprout.
We talk about a shoot, a new shoot, that is to say, the beginning of a new process. The life which blossoms from the stump of Jesse is the result of a spirit of wisdom and understanding, spirit of counsel and strength, spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. It is the result of a way of life proper to those who are able to judge with justice and right judgement, to oppose the wicked. What the prophet is really saying is that God has not given up hope in man’s goodness, and He acts to make this blossom. John the Baptist, who belongs to the line of the prophets, appears when prophecy seemed to be dead in Israel, and that makes Him a sign of hope. Moreover, his prophesy, brief and intense, rough and direct, is better than that of his predecessors. His prophetic ministry takes place in the desert. His prophesy does not announce a future restoration, rather something happening straight away. And this makes his call to conversion hard to take.
John, the last and greatest of all the prophets, is not, however, the shoot announced by Isaiah, even though externally his preaching is very similar to Jesus’: “the Kingdom of God is at hand”. John warns us about the signs of what is to come, and our disposition to receive Him, and collaborate in making the kingdom a reality in this world. We need to prepare ourselves in the midst of the contradictions around us, contradictions which affect us personally. Evil exists: in the world, in ourselves, and thus the realization of the promises is already present in the person of Jesus. Only through love, through forgiveness given and received that we bear fruit from the shoot of the stump of Jesse. And we make the dream of the prophets become a reality, the truth of a peaceful world, by trying to make peace a reality around us, overcoming biased ideas and all forms of barriers humans build among themselves.
Walking together like brothers and sisters:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Let us continue preparing ourselves through Advent to receive Jesus Our Savior. Last week we had the Advent Retreat when we reflected about the best way to prepare our hearts for this time of waiting. We must show availability to accept the invitation of God for our lives today, so we can be messengers of the mercy of God in our community. I invite you to continue our journey as a parish community, all together to continue the loving mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ, sharing his message of mercy and forgiveness. This week we have many important celebrations. Thursday 8
is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Patroness of the United States. We want to have a big celebration. At Mass, we invite everybody to bring their statue or image of Mary to be blessed, together we can show that we share the same love for the same Mother Most Holy. After Mass, we want to share in fellowship and diversity. We will bring all images to the Fellowship Hall, and get a chance to admire each other’s images while we share traditional dishes we hope you will bring to share with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
On Sunday 11
, we will have a small food demo and tasting after 9am, 11am and 1pm Masses. Come celebrate Mary this Advent! May Mary Most Holy walk this Advent with each one of you!
Fr. Jose Gerardo Alberto, M.Sp.S
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