….Reflections from Fr. Andres
Second Sunday of Advent. Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-9; Mathew 3:1-12.
The readings this Sunday are quite similar to last Sunday in that they focus our attention on two key Advent themes:
1) the call to prepare ourselves through conversion, and
2) the call to wait in hope for a kingdom of peace. Obviously, both themes are interrelated. In the Gospel, John the Baptist announces a message of repentance “for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.” John is the prophet Isaiah spoke of saying, “Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight”.
This is the real meaning of Advent, preparing ourselves for the Savior who comes to bring the gift of peace for the world. The Liturgy of the Word therefore invites us to prepare ourselves spiritually, by being reconciled with God and with one another.
That inner conversion should be so real that we are led to action; that we open our eyes to see the plight of the poor around us, and to do something about it. The lesson we learn from the encounter between John the Baptist, and some Jewish religious leaders is important.
John underlines the importance of authentic spiritual reform, conversion. Genuine spiritual reform is always accompanied by action as evidence that we have truly been transform by the Lord. That is why John the Baptist tells the Pharisee and the Sadducees to “Produce good fruit as evidence” of repentance. In other words, the sign of our inner transformation shows itself in the life we live. It is not enough to be baptized.
For John the Baptist, conversion meant literally turning around from the direction one is going. The second theme, waiting in hope and trust for a kingdom of peace is found in the both the first, and second readings. Isaiah prophesies that out of the line of David would come a
king, who would be a different kind of king. “Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.” That king would be nothing but just, for He will establish justice and peace.
That peace would be so great and genuine that natural enemies in animal kingdom like the wolf and the lamb would lie down next to one another, a beautiful image of
harmony among God’s creation. That is the kingdom of peace John the Baptist was preparing the people for when he said, “prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Paul in the Second Reading reminds us that our God is a God of endurance, and encouragement, and as people of hope, we must never give up until all is realized in Christ.
This is the message we can take from this Sunday readings:
1- The readings highlight the meaning behind the lighting of the Second Candle on the Advent Wreath, signifying our need for repentance, and calling us to reform our lives.
2- We are called to be reconciled with God and with one another; to live in genuine peace and harmony;
3- That reconciliation and acceptance of God’s mercy will certainly lead to the kingdom of peace we all await when Christ comes; the kingdom of peace starts with me when I am humble enough to be totally reconciled with God and with others. May God bless you. Amen.
First Sunday of Advent. Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew. 24:37-44.
Waiting, watching and preparing: are the three key words
that sum up best, the Advent Season that we begin today.
We need to choose to be found doing our duty as Christian
when the Lord comes, watching, and waiting. Advent is
about waiting for fulfillment of Isaiah’s vision of all the nations, transforming their weapons of war into tools of cultivation, and harvesting for their people; a time anticipating peace and joy.
The Gospel reading urges us to stay awake, and to be
ready, “because the Son of Man is coming at an hour” we
least expect. Paul in the second reading suggests that we
prepare ourselves through conversion: throwing “off the
works of darkness, and putting on the armor of light;” putting “on the Lord Jesus Christ, and making no provision for the desires of the flesh.” The readings underline two basic Advent themes:
1) anticipation and hope for the second coming
of our Lord and Savoir, who brings peace into our hearts
and in the world, symbolized by the green circular wreath,
or advent wreath. The circle points to the promise of eternal life.
The 5 candles: three purple, one rose, and one white in the canter are mlit progressively on each Sunday, with the white one being mlit on Christmas Day. The lighting of the candles reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world that dispels the darkness of our lives, and brings us newness, life, and hope.
2) The second theme symbolized by the color purple is conversion, and renewal in preparing a suitable place to welcome our Savoir in our hearts. Conversion is a call to be instruments of peace in the world, so that a kingdom of peace may come about; so that nations may no longer engage in wars; so that neighbors may talk of peace, and not of war; so that God’s reconciling love may become a reality.This is the message we can take from this Sunday readings:
1- Advent is a season of watching, and waiting with
hope for Christ, who brings peace into our hearts, and in the mworld;
2- Advent is a time of looking forward with eagerness,
and anticipation for the joy of salvation that Christmas
3- But above all it is a season of spiritual preparation
to receive Christ in our hearts by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. May God bless you. Amen.
Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King. Year C.
Readings: 2 Samuel 5:1-3; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43.
You and I are challenged by two basic questions. Who is your king? What kingdom do you serve? The account of David’s anointing in the first reading speaks of his closeness mto the people and his future role as a shepherd-king. David is the deliverer and shepherd mof his people, thus pre-figuring the mystery of Christ, who is King, Shepherd, and at the msame time the lamb slain on the cross for his sheep.
That is the point of Luke’s crucifixion narrative, in which everything said about Jesus comes to be true: the “chosen one”, the “Messiah”, the “Savior of all”; the one who saves himself by surrendering his own life. Indeed the readings lead us to meet Christ, who, in Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, “is the image of the unseen God, and the first born of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven, and on earth: everything visible, and everything invisible, everything was created through him and for him.” In this beautiful hymn that is highly poetic, St. Paul gives us a glimpse of the Father, who sums up all creation in Christ.
St. Paul’s meditation on the Father summing up, and reconciling all things in and through Christ, is one of the mmost beautiful prayers of thanksgiving to the Father. We are invited to offer our gratitude to the Father for all that he has done for us throughout the Liturgical Year that comes to an end this Sunday.
Thus in the Eucharist, we offer to the Father a sacrifice of thanksgiving through Christ, mthe King, who by his death, and resurrection enters into an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, mlove and peace.
The prayer after Communion beautifully sums up the mystery of Christ mwe celebrate this Sunday: “Lord, you give us Christ, the King of all creation, as food for everlasting life. Help us to live by his Gospel and bring us to the joy of his kingdom”. This last Sunday of the Liturgical Year challenges us to be more determined to live by the values and principles of Christ our King, and to be willing to sacrifice ourselves for those values.
Our baptism into the life of Christ was and continues to be a bold statement to the mworld: Jesus is Lord and King of our lives. We dream His dreams. We share His hopes.
We believe that nothing, not even death, can take away the dream of His Kingdom from ,mus. The Solemnity of Christ the King is not just a conclusion of the church year. It takes
us to the beginning: ushering in the King who is, who reigns in our hearts, and who is yet to come, a new Advent. So this is the message we can take from this Sunday readings: