This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
The Season of Advent.
Sunday 9th December: The 2nd Sunday of Advent (c).
In today’s Liturgy, we hear the strident and persistent voice of John the Baptist urging us ‘to prepare the way of Lord.’
In the first reading, from the Prophet Baruch, Jerusalem is told to forget the sufferings of the past because God is going to bring back her exiled children to her.
In the second reading, from the Letter to the Philippians, Paul is urging his fellow Christians to prepare for the second coming of Christ by living pure and blameless lives.
In the Gospel passage, from St. Luke, John the Baptist urges the people to prepare a way for the Lord through repentance. It is a reminder also of the words used by Isaiah in Old Testament times when he too was calling the people to repent.
Monday 10th December: Monday of the 2nd week of Advent.
All this week, Isaiah gives great messages of comfort and hope to the people of Israel. Rejoice, have courage, do not be afraid. Your God is coming.
The people of Jesus’ time reflect the awe of the first reading – ‘we have seen great things today’ as Jesus carries out his mission of healing – one of the hallmarks of the Messiah.
Tuesday 11th December: Tuesday of the 2nd 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 12th December:
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 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.
Friday 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
Saturday 15th December: Saturday of the 2nd week of Advent.
We have a reference today to the Prophet Elijah. Some regarded John as Elijah come back again.
In the Gospel, Jesus compares John to Elijah – just as Elijah was not recognised neither would John be. Like Elijah and John, Jesus himself would suffer at the hands of the people
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.