2nd Sunday of Advent (b)
The Season of Advent.
Sunday 7th December: Second Sunday of Advent. (B)
The first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, gives a message of hope and consolation to the exiled people in Babylon. In human terms, there was little reason for them to hope. Isaiah, however, assures them that God will come to their aid. He points to the time of the Messiah, promised to the people. Just as the people in Babylon were urged to prepare a way for the Lord, so we, too, are called to do the same. We are called to bring the Lord to birth in our hearts and lives but we must prepare ourselves.
In the Gospel passage, from St. Mark’s Gospel, the figure of John the Baptist looms large. Like Isaiah, he is urging the people to prepare themselves for the coming of the Saviour but now it is going to happen much sooner. He issues the call to repentance to which each one of us must respond.
Even in the second reading, from the second Letter of St. Peter, we hear the message that, even if the Lord appears to be slow in coming, it is to give the people an opportunity to be ready to meet him when he comes. It is another opportunity given to repent and prepare the way of the Lord.
Monday 8th December: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
Today’s feast celebrates the perfect holiness of Our Lady. It affirms the Church’s belief that from the very moment of her conception Our Lady was preserved free from all stain of original sin. In this way, she was prepared for her unique role in the work of redemption as Mother of God. The feast was instituted by Pope Pius IX when he defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th 1854.
Tuesday 9th December: Tuesday in the second week of Advent.
The time for deliverance has come says Isaiah. The people have suffered enough and their sin is atoned for. The voice cries in the wilderness – Prepare the way of the Lord. The people will be returned safely to their homeland and that will show the power and the majesty of God.
This brief parable insists on the responsibility of the shepherd for everyone of his flock. So too God cares for each one of us. We are called to imitate him in this role.
Wednesday 10th December: Wednesday in the second week of Advent.
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 11th December: Thursday in the second week of Advent.
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 12th December: Friday in the second week of Advent.
This reading lists the blessings God intended for his people were it not for their faithlessness. If they had listened as revealed in commandments and observed them, they would not be in the tragic situation of the exile. However, not all is lost. The God who condemns them is also their redeemer. If they repent and promise to amend their ways, salvation is waiting for them.
People rejected the message of John the Baptist because he was too much of an ascetic. They were not comfortable with Jesus because he mixed with sinners and led an ordinary life. In other words, people always find an excuse not to listen to God often by finding fault with those who speak in his name.
Saturday 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.
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.