READINGS for 2007-12-09
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” – Matthew 3:2
Ice cream! Ice cream! was the shout of the man selling dirty ice cream. It was one of those hot summer vacations when I finally gave in to his call. I didn’t care if it was not clean, or what milk they used. All I wanted was a taste... nothing more. I didn’t even bother to ask permission from my parents who were still at the office anyway; I just asked my yaya to buy a scoop for me.
I was seven years old back then and as I began to lick and glide my tongue to the smooth taste of it. I told myself this was the life...
As John called for repentance in the desert of Judea, people who said yes to his call did not mind who he was. Did they know that this man ate locusts for his food? He only wore camel’s hair and a leather belt, how’s that for fashion! Do you think if you were present in those times, you would also go with John? If asked, my answer would be YES!
Maybe I was looking for a change; perhaps my tongue needed a new taste. As I heard that call, my heart leaped for joy for I know that my desire would be satisfied! Marissa E.
Be alert! Stay on guard; get ready to stand up when God calls you...
Open our eyes, Lord; allow us to see You. Open our ears, Lord; allow us to hear You. Open our hearts, Lord; allow us to feel You.
2nd Sunday of Advent
God’s vision for our lives and the reality of them here and now are probably light years apart! However, this does not have to be the case! The Good News is that Jesus has come down to earth as a child and He will be the Savior of the world. One of our number, a man, will bring redemption to the whole world. This is as good a reason to rejoice that we will ever get. Let us welcome the Christ child into our lives once again.
1 On that day a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. 2 The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, 3 and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, 4 but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. 5 Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. 6 Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. 7 The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. 8 The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. 9 There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. 10 On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.
P S A L M
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
R: Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
1 O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king’s son; 2 he shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment. 7 Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. 8 May he rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. 12 For he shall rescue the poor man when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. 13 He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save. 17 May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun his name shall remain. In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
Jesus fulfills all of the Scriptures and all of the promises of God. He is the final act of God’s selfrevelation. He brings with Him the gift of salvation and preaches the Good News to all that God is reconciling us to Himself and that now is the time to make a decision to follow Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. This is what it means to be a child of God; this is the way to true and eternal happiness.
4 For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, 6 that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8 For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, 9 but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing praises to your name.”
G O S P E L
John the Baptist was the herald for the person of Jesus in the flesh 2000 years ago. You and I are the heralds of Jesus for our time and age. Let us take up the call; let us step out in faith and proclaim the Good News in season and out of season! We need to be the voices and examples of holiness in the midst of the wilderness of sin in our world, proclaiming the truth that there is another way to live. In fact, this other way is a better way altogether as it is not only concerned with this life but takes us into eternal life as well.
1 John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: “A voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’” 4 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him 6 and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. 7 When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
think: You and I are the heralds of Jesus for our time and age. Let us take up the call and proclaim the Good News!
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GOD’S GLORY RETURNING
In the Old Testament, the glory of God is said to have departed from His people when His voice is no longer heard. 1 Sm 4:21-22 narrates that after Eli’s death, his daughter-in-law, wife of his son, Phinehas, gave birth to a son and named him “Ichabod” which means “no glory” because the ark of God has been captured.” But prior to the Philistines’ capture of the ark of God, the absence of the divine glory was already implied in 1 Sm 3:1: “In those days, the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.” God first became silent (1 Sm 3:1), then totally absent (1 Sm 4:21-22); thus, His glory was no more in the house of Israel. God was absent because the ark was gone.
The silence was long, the absence was protracted, and the divine glory sorely missed. But the Prophet Ezekiel prophesied about the return of the ark in the Temple, and, thus, the homecoming of God’s glory into the house of Israel (cf Ez 43:4-9). The appearance of John the Baptist inaugurated the fulfillment of the prophesy that would be fully established in the coming of Christ. God broke His silence by sending John the Baptist, the last of the greatest prophets. God became present again in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Writing in particular for the Jewish converts to Christianity, it was very important for Matthew to begin his Gospel this way. By opening his story about Jesus in this manner, Matthew was trying to convey to the Jewish converts that Jesus was God’s glory that has returned to God’s people. Thus, all through his Gospel, Matthew would point to a messianic prophesy fulfilled in and by Jesus Christ. In and through Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of the Father, the glory of God achieved its highest form of manifestation.
John the Baptist, the voice in the wilderness, broke God’s long silence, heralding the return of God’s glory among His people. He called the people to repentance. His call is also for us.
Let Advent be a special time for us to prepare for the return of God’s glory among us. We have lost His glory due to our sins. Let us repent and keep our hearts worthy dwelling places of the divine glory. Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Do I listen to and obey the voice of God?
“Father in heaven, the day draws near when the glory of Your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy which moves the hearts of those who seek Him. May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom which fills the minds of those who find Him.” Amen (Opening Prayer of the Mass of the 2nd Sunday of Advent).
St. Peter, martyr, pray for us.
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