Liturgical Calendar – Advent 2

Sunday 4th December:                     Second Sunday of Advent.  (B)

The first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, gives a message of hope and consolation to the exiled people inBabylon.  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 inBabylonwere 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 5th December:           Monday in the second week of Advent.  

All this week, Isaiah gives great messages of hope and comfort.  Rejoice, have courage, do not be afraid.  Your God is coming to save you. Sorrow and suffering will be ended.  We must keep alive our faith in God and our hope in a future with him when joy and gladness will be ours.

The forgiveness of sins where we naturally expect a physical cure indicates the main efforts of Jesus work. Sin is the barrier to theKingdomofGod.

Tuesday 6th 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 7th December:     Memorial of St. Ambrose.

          St. Ambrose was born about 340 inGaul and initially seemed set for a career in civil life.  He became governor of a large area ofNorthern Italy and then suddenly, he was acclaimed by the people who wanted him as their Bishop. The problem was he was not baptised.  Eight days after his acclamation he was baptised and, after further instruction, was ordained Bishop, becoming Archbishop of Milan.  He was a fearless opponent of heresy wherever it occurred, even challenging the Emperor on occasion. ‘The emperor is in the Church not over it’ is one of his sayings. He was a dedicated pastor and always available to the poor.  He died in 397.

Thursday 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.

Friday 9th 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 10th December:       Saturday in the second week of Advent.

          We have a reference today to the Prophet Elijah.  Like John the Baptist, his job was to allay God’s wrath before the fury broke.  Therefore, some regarded John as Elijah coming back again.

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.

‘Better a sinner who knows
he is a sinner
than a saint
who knows
he is a saint.’
(Jewish saying)