December 10th: Second Sunday of Advent
Dear Parish Family,
He didn’t look like them. He didn’t talk like them. He was not part of the crowd that had always held power. But the people listened, and followed.
John the Baptist dressed in camel’s hair and had a leather belt. He didn’t dress like the Scribes, Pharisees and the Temple priests. John the Baptist talked about change that was certainly coming. The thing is for the change to take place, it was the people who had to change.
If there is going to be no more war, then people need to stop hating others. If there is going to be charity and care for all, then people needed to look inside their hearts and pull out the justice of God that resides there. If there is going to be change, then people needed to change. “Prepare for the Lord,” John the Baptist proclaimed. “Prepare for the Lord by preparing yourselves.”
And the people from throughout the Judean countryside and the inhabitants of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River where John was preaching. And they confessed their sins. And they were baptized. And the change had begun. We all want our country and our world to be better. We all want a cure for cancer and AIDS and malnutrition, and every ailment or condition that is killing people. We all want the poor to be cared for. We all want an end to war and the poor to be cared for. We all want an end to violence. We all want peace. But what are we doing about it?
The heart of John the Baptist’s message is about it? The heart of John the Baptist’s message is that if we want change, if we really want the One who will reform the world and return mankind to God’s original plan, then we need to change. This is tough. It is just so much easier to sit back and expect the world to change, other people to change. But if we really want change we can believe in, the we need to change.
Every year we lament about how society is trying to destroy the meaning of Christmas. We are saddened that a spiritual celebration has been transformed into a series of parties. And we should be sad, but, perhaps, we should all be more concerned with how we ourselves plan to celebrate Christmas. More than that, we should be more concerned with how we are celebrating Advent.
What exactly are we doing to prepare the world for Jesus Christ? John the Baptist tells us to look within ourselves, change our own attitudes, and then trust God to allow this change to have a part in the transformation the world. Change will only take place if we are the ones who change. And Advent is a particularly Marian season. It’s hard to think of Jesus being born in Bethlehem without the image of Mary His Mother coming to mind. As we journey though this season, let us take her as our guide in preparing the way for the Lord.
It is a precept of the Church to participate in Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Christmas is an extraordinary celebration in the Church’s liturgical calendar and we attend Mass, just as we do every Sunday. It might be different and a sacrifice to go to Mass on Sunday morning and evening, but as Catholics we are asked to be counter-cultural and sacrificial. This is one of the ways we show God we place Him as our highest priority.
God bless you all!
Sister Maria Inviolata, SMDG