2nd Sunday of Advent (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Sunday 8th December: 2nd Sunday of Advent (a)
In the first reading, from Isaiah (11:1-10), we hear about the coming of the Messiah and the kind of justice and peace he would bring.
St. Paul, in the second reading from St. Paul to the Romans (15:4-9) talks about the importance of hope and how we should treat others in the same friendly way Christ has treated each one of us.
In the Gospel, from Saint Matthew (3:1-12), we hear again the voice of John the Baptist saying to us what he said to his own contemporaries, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.”
Monday 9th December: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Today’s feast celebrates the perfect holiness of Our Lady. It affirms the church’s belief and teaching that Our Lady, from the very moment of her conception, was preserved free from all stain of original sin. In this way, she was prepared for her unique role in the work of redemption. Pope Pius IX instituted the feast when he defined the dogman of the Immaculate Conception on 8th December 1854.
Tuesday 10th December: Memorial of St. Ambrose.
He was born of a Roman Christian family around 339 when his father was an official in Gaul. He moved back to Rome and became a lawyer and eventually a consul in the region of Milan. He was named bishop by popular acclamation even though he was still a catechumen. Eight days later he was baptised and, after receiving further instruction, was ordained a Bishop He frequently had to defend the rights and freedom of the Church sometimes even against the emperor. A favourite saying of his was that ‘the emperor is in the church, not over it.’ He was known as ‘an apostle of charity, a reformer of the liturgy a director of souls.’ He died on this date in 397.
Wednesday 11th December: Advent Weekday.
The people are beginning to feel that God has abandoned them in exile. Isiah offers them hope that this is not the case. There will be a time of deliverance. He uses the sights and sounds of the sky to remind them that God created all this and he wishes to save thgem and give them new hope.
Like Isaiah, Jesus has an encouraging message for those who feel weighed down by the problems of life. Do not be frightened to turn to him for help, strength and courage.
Thursday 12th December: Advent Weekday.
Again, Isaiah is trying to encourage the people of Israel. He speaks of God, taking them by the hand and making them strong.
In the Gospel passages, we have been concentrating on John the Baptist’s anticipation of the saviour. Now he talks of the coming of the Messiah. Jesus talks that he it is who will fulfil many of the prophecies we have heard since the beginning of Advent.
Friday 13th December: Memorial of St. Lucy.
Very little is known about St. Lucy except that she was martyred in Syracuse in Sicily. A Greek inscription found there in 1894 testifies to the devotion to the saint from at least the 4th century. The account of her martyrdom states that she wanted to consecrate herself to God and decided to give the money allocated for her dowry to the poor. Her angry fiancé brought her to court where she was tortured and finally executed in 304 because she would not give up her faith.
Saturday 14th December: Memorial of St. John of the Cross.
The great Spanish mystic was born in 1542 in Spain. From his early years he wanted to become a monk and eventually he joined the Carmelites and studied at Salamanca in Spain. He worked with Teresa of Avila to reform the order and this caused him much suffering. He believed and practised contemplative prayer. In his classic ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ he writes of the times when he lost the taste for prayer and became spiritually dry. He is a patron for us when we find it difficult to pray. He died in 1591
Leader of the house of Israel,
Who appeared to Moses
in the fire of the burning bush
And gave him the law on Sinai,
Come to redeem us
with an outstretched arm.
Shoot of Jesse,
Who stands as an ensign for the people,
Before whom kings shall shut their mouths,
Whom the gentiles shall seek after,
Come to deliver us.
Delay now no longer.