Skip to main content

2nd Sunday of Advent

A promise fulfilled.  This is the promise of Advent.  This is the promise of Christ.  As we begin our new Liturgical cycle with this season of Advent, we take a lesson from the prophets… that our hope for salvation will be fulfilled.  How do I know this?  Let’s look at our readings for this week…

Baruch 5:1-9
Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Luke 3:4, 6

Our first reading is from the Book of Baruch, who was an assistant to the prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah, as we may remember from our readings last week, is one of the prophets of the Babylonian Exile.  The Book of Baruch is reflective of that same period, though unlike the Book of Jeremiah, no known Hebrew version of this book has been found, making it one of the Bible’s Deuterocanonical books (those included in the Catholic Bible, but not the Hebrew or Protestant Bibles).  In our passage for this week, Jerusalem (currently in Exile) is told to “take off your robe of mourning and misery” and to “put on the splendor of glory from God forever.”  In other words, Jerusalem shall rise again, and be a beacon to God’s glory.  God is making a promise to his people, and though it might sound like a tall order given their situation, our Psalm reminds us “the Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”

Our second reading is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  In a passage from the letter’s opening greeting, Paul encouraging the community (and us) to continue the work that has begun, and that in doing so, will be prepared for “the day of Christ.”  That while we gain salvation through Christ, we also need to stay vigilant in following the path of the Gospel in order to maintain that state of grace.

Our Gospel from Luke then sets the stage for our journey toward salvation by literally setting the stage.  The opening of this third chapter has Luke putting his narrative into a specific historical context (in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberious Caesar).  This device not only provides a historical context for the listener, but is used to reinforce the fact that Jesus was part of that history.  Not a myth.  Not made up.  An actual person placed here by God in that place at that time to fulfill the promise God made through his prophets.  And now our gospel presents us with the last of the prophets before Jesus, John the Baptist, who through the words of Isaiah, has come to tell us that salvation is at hand.

Final Thoughts:
When I was boy the Promise of Christmas was that Santa Clause would come with presents on Christmas Eve, provided of course, that we managed to stay on the “nice” list.  And if your childhood was like mine, nothing could replace the joy we felt on Christmas morning to find the stockings stuffed and the tree surrounded by presents.  As adults now, however, you may feel you’re well past that understanding of the Promise of Christmas.  But I’ve got news for you… for according to our readings the Promise of Christmas remains alive and well and waiting for us.  Santa, in this case, is Christ himself, and his gift:  Salvation!  And if we want a truly Catholic understanding of what the second coming will be like… remember what it was like when you were a child on Christmas Eve.


Popular posts from this blog

Post-Lent review... How did you do?

Lent is now behind us, yet in our excitement for Easter (and for Lent being over), how often to you take a moment to look back at your Lenten journey to do a post-game review?

As a volunteer leader and business school graduate, the concept of doing a formal "review" after an event or activity is a long held important practice... one that, unfortunately, tends to get overlooked even at the highest levels.  Still, it remains a staple of standard practice, and for good reason... It affords those involved, and the entire organization, a chance to review everything after the fact... what went well, what didn't, and lay the groundwork for next time.  The same is true for looking back at our Lenten journey.  So... how did you do?

I have to be honest, I sometimes fail to practice what I preach.  For as important as a post-lenten review might be, I hadn't thought of the idea until now.  I didn't even really think about it until this morning when I read the following artic…

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…

5th Sunday of Easter

What happens when you have too much of a good thing?  When a business wins that lucrative new contract or expands into a new location?  Or taking that same idea a bit closer to home, what happens when two families merge through marriage, or when a family welcomes a new child?  We consider this kind of growth to be a good thing, but as with all things, these successes also come with their own baggage.  Our readings for this 5th Sunday of Easter have our Apostles facing similar challenges in the face of their growing successes.

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12

Our reading from Acts of the Apostles learning the hard way about the challenges that grow out of their continued success when their number of followers continues to grow.  Up to this point the Apostles have been doing their best to address the needs of the community, both spiritual and physical, but the community has grown so large now that they are becom…