Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent- December 8, 2019
John the Baptist is center stage in this Sunday’s Gospel. I’ve always been struck by his ability to bring the important message to Jesus’ coming, but never advancing himself. In another reading he says about Jesus: “He must increase, I must decrease.” Talk about knowing your place in salvation history.
This week John tells us: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” If you’re like me, each Advent I hear this and I’m not sure I want the kingdom just yet, or rather the end of the earth as we know it. I want to live my life to the fullest now at this moment in time and not worry about the end. God wants us to do that too.
Yet John tells us to “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” What does that look like in 2019 on Long Island? I believe that it calls us to do all we can do to bring the message of Christ to the world – a world that is desperate for love, respect for every individual, kindness, and caring for the needs of the poor.
Advent is the opening of another Church year. I feel an excitement in the anticipation of the coming of the Lord at Christmas and beginning again with a different cycle of readings for the year ahead. We know the Christmas story by heart, and we can be complacent during the readings of Advent and Christmas, but in doing so we run the risk of missing the message God has for each of us this year.
Today’s second reading has wonderful words to reflect on:
“ … that by endurance and by encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another…”
We need to have hope and believe that God’s promise of 2000 years ago is true today – that God sent his son so that we have life here and hereafter. St. Angela Merici, the founder of the Ursulines, tells us in her writings: “My last word to you, by which I implore you even with my blood, is that you live in harmony, united together, all of one heart and one will. Be bound to one another by the bond of charity, esteeming each other, helping each other, bearing with each other in Jesus Christ.” We are challenged in this time and place to prepare for Christ at Christmas and to bring his message of harmony, hope and love to all those we come in contact with, even on the checkout line during these hectic days before Christmas.
May you find time for some quiet each day between now and Christmas to reflect on the daily readings (which can be found at www.usccb.org) or to be present with the Lord in silence. Let us pray for one another that we might find God’s message for us to live out in the coming Church year.
Sr. Joanne Callahan, OSU