Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Catholic Reflections 639 : Homily Second Sunday Advent. Year B – 10th December, 2017

Homily Second Sunday Advent. Year B – 10th December 2017
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5. 9-11
Psalm: 84:9-14. “Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation”
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Second Sunday Advent. Year B 10th of December 2017- by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-advent-2b

(EPISODE: 62 )
God's vision is much broader and deeper than our own limited perspective. We do not have the benefit of the whole picture. For us, it is just a great honour to help, in some small way, a project infinitely bigger than we could ever see or comprehend..... Life would be very different if, instead of yearning for some distant and, (at present), unattainable goal, we did all that we could here and now to bring that goal even a step or so nearer. Just to be part of God's grand project, is satisfaction enough.

A fitting quote (from Scripture commentator William Barclay), comes to mind........"In youth, because I could not be a singer, I did not even try to write a song; and I planted no little trees along the roadside Because I knew their growth would take so long and I would not see them fully grown. But now from the wisdom that the years have brought me, I know that it may be a blessed thing To plant a tree for someone else to water and enjoy, Or make a song that someone else will sing when I cannot." (William Barclay).

The goal will never be reached unless the labourers unite to make it possible, under the great architect's plan. Each one adds their little bit to a project bigger than any one of us.

In the gospel, we hear that those who were baptised also confessed their sins........ Admitting to our sins and faults is difficult. But when we do this we straighten the path between us and God. Often, the most difficult person to admit a sin to, is actually ourselves…..  For example, when the prodigal son took off with half his father's property, he probably thought very well of himself...   He thought he was a fine and clever young man who will make it big....   but, later, in extreme poverty, as he even longed to eat the scraps of pigs' food and realised his folly, he would first have to admit to himself how pathetically he had acted...  Even before he returned to his father, he had to look at himself honestly and humbly, and it must have been very deflating and difficult…..But he could not have imagined the astounding love and mercy he would receive when he made a straight path back to his father.

We must let the barriers down…  and fill in the valleys of pride and self-satisfaction.  It is not the person who desires to meet God on equal terms who will discover forgiveness, grace and compassion - but rather, the person who falls to their knees, and whispers in mortification, "Lord, I need you! I am a terrible mess without your help. Be merciful to me, for I am a sinner!"

The Prophet Isaiah in the first reading speaks of comfort for God's people. God assures the people that they have ‘done their time’ for their sins. The debt is cancelled. However, one gets a distinct feeling that God is just being kind and generous. We couldn’t have paid off the debt; but God, in his love and mercy has cancelled it and written “paid in full” anyway. Another act of astounding generosity.  Advent reminds us that God IS coming !! 

We are invited to change the way we live! And to change our thinking, so we may truly encounter the living God and understand the truth of God’s different ways.

John the Baptist was out in the desert. This is reminiscent of the People of Israel who fled into the desert and lived in the wilderness for forty years, In that time, they were utterly reliant on God’s providence. they had nothing else but the presence and leadership of God’s guiding hand. The people had to trust totally in God’s wisdom and care. For the most part, they were a humble and grateful people..  (although at times, for those who trudged the desert, pride, distrust and ingratitude got the better of many of them)

In the process of trying to give up sin and live with virtue, we often find how difficult it can be. Even after years of struggle, we can often find ourselves still facing the same sins and defects in our lives. But let us not lose hope...The Lord assures and comforts us…… that He comes to save us, not to condemn us. The secret is to trust completely in Jesus Christ. To surrender to God.  To stop wrangling with, and resisting God with our wilfulness…   We admit our need for God’s grace and mercy.

God does not operate with a conditional mindset….   and the things that show the unconditional love God has for each of us, can never be measured in favours granted or rewards given….  but rather, everything God gives us is a grace -- Gifts and blessings given, completely and unreservedly in love for all people….

By contrast we are tempted to keep score or place conditions on love,  or "trying to live as if we were an island complete of itself," A conditional way of living creates valleys and mountains – making the pathway of communication and friendship between God and ourselves very rocky. The same is true for wilfulness, pride and self-focus…..  These are obstacles to our peace and to our reception of the reality of Christ in our lives, and his unconditional love. We long to appreciate more deeply, the reality of Christ's selfless and generous presence and action amongst us.  

Barclay, W. (1975). The Gospel of Mark. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press

Fr Paul W. Kelly

Leonard, R. (2006). Preaching to the converted. New York: Paulist Press.

Monastery of Christ in the Desert. Abbot's Homily. Advent 2, Year B. 2008.

© 2008, TrueQuest Communications, LLC.
Archive of homilies and reflections: http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
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Second Sunday Advent. Year B
(Sunday, December 10, 2017)

(EPISODE: 62 )

Second Week

In this season of Advent, we feature an Advent Wreath – with its candles and green branches— it is a reminder of God's promise to our world: Christ, our Light and our Hope, will come.

(we light the second Advent Candle ****)

2nd CANDLE – (purple)
THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF PREPARATION – God kept his promise of a Saviour who would be born in Bethlehem.

O Key of David, O Flower of Jesse’s stem.... commanding at your will the gates of Heaven: O royal Power of Israel ....Come, break down the prison walls - for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.
O people of Sion, behold,
the Lord will come to save the nations,
and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard.
in the joy of your heart.
In the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord be with you.
(and with your spirit)

Before hearing the word of God and sharing the bread of life,
sing praise to Christ, the Alpha and Omega......

Kyrie eleison/
Christe eleison/
Kyrie eleison

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting Vlife.
Let us pray
(that nothing may hinder us from receiving Christ with Joy)
Memorial Acclamation
When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.

Advent 1

Euch Prayer II

Communion side.  pwk:  RH
Go in peace.(glorifying the Lord by your life)

Wait for the Lord, whose day is near,
wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.

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