December 5: Advent reminds us of Christ’s coming at Bethlehem and that one day he will come in glory at the end of time.

December 5, 2021                          Second Sunday of Advent

Introduction

There are two images that come from our scripture readings for this weekend which set the tone for The Second Sunday of Advent.

  • In the first reading, the prophet Baruch proclaims “put on your robes of joy.” 
  • In the gospel. John the Baptist announces the coming of the Messiah with these words “prepare the way of the Lord.”

Gospel

List of names

Our gospel today begins in kind of an interesting way.

  • There is a list of names of important people and places that most people have never even heard of.
  • For most of us, the list is irrelevant and unrecognizable.
  •  However, how might we translate that list into something contemporary?

It might sound something like this: In the second year of the administration of Joseph Biden, president of the United States, Mark Gordon governor of the state of Wyoming, during the seventh year of the papacy of Francis Bishop of Rome while Steven Biegler was Bishop of Cheyenne, the world plagued by economic uncertainty and still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, the word of God came, “ prepare the way of the Lord.”

God in history 

What motivated Saint Luke to begin with this list of names and places?

  • It places God’s presence directly into recorded history,
  • His intention is to show that God entered into real human history, he took on flesh and lived in a real place and time.
  • Jesus is not an abstract God but entered into the very fabric of human existence.
  • He wants to be involved in every human life and desires friendship with each of us.
  • He stands ready to enter into everyone’s personal history.
  • The Advent readings remind us that God comes to visit his people.
  • God desires a relationship with every human being.

God is with us

During Advent, time and again we hear God’s title “Emmanuel.”

  • It is translated as God is with us.
  • There are two primary examples of God’s desire to be with us, involved in our lives.

In the scripture 

The first one is the Scriptures itself.

  • Think of the entire Bible as God‘s love story to his people. 
  • In the sacred writing, God communicates his love, forgiveness, mercy and compassion as well as his vision for the human family. 
  • Throughout the Bible, He reveals his desire to enter into relationship with the human family. 
  • In the Scriptures God forms a people to be his own.
  • Jesus is the Word made flesh, perfect image of the Father.
  • His words are God’s words addressed to us. 
  • His deeds and miracles are God working in a real and tangible way in human history.
  • Think of it this way:  When you read the Bible or hear it proclaimed here at Mass, God is speaking directly to you.
  • He is speaking to your heart. Those are the words he wants you to hear at that particular moment.

In the words of scripture, God is present. God is with us.

Eucharist

Similarly, God’s desire to be involved in our lives is manifested in the Holy Eucharist itself. 

  • At every Mass Jesus becomes truly present in the Eucharist.
  • It is like another Bethlehem.  
  • It is the completion of the incarnation. God becomes flesh and dwells among us in the Eucharist. 
  • At every Mass he nourishes us and becomes involved in a real and personal way in our lives sometimes in the most unlikely and unexpected ways.

Eucharist in prison

The story is told about a group of Catholics who protested when the Chinese communist government arrested their bishop.

  • The folks ended up in prison right next to the bishop.
  • Every morning a little girl was allowed to visit them and bring each of them a small loaf of bread from their families.
  • Hidden inside each loaf of bread was a small cloth napkin.
  • Inside each napkin was the Holy Eucharist.
  •  In this way these persecuted Chinese Catholics were able to receive Holy Communion every single day.
  • They would always retain one loaf and keep it in the corner of their prison cell.
  • That way every day they could pray to the Lord in the Eucharist and He remained with them.

Conclusion

Once again we are in Advent.

  • Advent reminds us of Christ’s coming at Bethlehem and that one day he will come in glory at the end of time.
  • Even though he is coming, he is still with us now in many ways.
  •  He is with us in the scriptures we read.
  • He is with us in the tabernacle in the holy Eucharist. 
  • Advent reminds us to put on the robes of joy and prepare our hearts to recognize Jesus at his coming and to welcome him with all of our hearts.
  • Have a good Advent!

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