Reflection: Second Sunday of Advent

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Bar.5:1-9; Ps.125; 2nd Reading – Phil.1:4-6, 8-11; Gospel – Lk.3:1-6]

“PREPARE A WAY…”

We are already in the second Sunday of Advent. Therefore we are almost half way through on our way to the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Church continues to invite us to hold firm in our own preparation for the Lord. This time we are not only asked to stay awake, or to continue to pray, but we are urged “physically” to do something more, i.e. to make his paths straight. While last Sunday we were told to do something so that we ourselves be ready, something which involved us individually, as if a psychological preparation, this Sunday we are told to do something empirical which is for the benefit of not only ourselves, but also of others.

Interesting is the information given by Luke. He is putting us in a specific time in history and is mentioning specific individuals who were known at the time when he wrote the gospel. Luke wants to puts his “story” in a historical setting. Something that realistically happened in a specific time.  Therefore he is not going to speak out of his mind, but in a specific time and with specific persons. Interesting also is the “introduction” of John, son of Zachariah… John is presented as a Prophet and in fact he quotes another Prophet, Isaiah.  We know that John the Baptist is a Prophet: (a) he is speaking in the name of God and (b) Jesus Himself said that there is no Prophet greater than John!

John the Baptist makes use of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah. He compares himself to a voice in the wilderness. Interesting this voice! It may have two effects since it is in the wilderness: (i) it might mean that no one can listen to it because no one lives in the wilderness, or (ii) it might mean that the whole world is in wilderness because it abandoned the Lord and so it is said to everyone.  Furthermore this voice is crying to prepare a way of the Lord by making his paths straight. He also tells us how: (1) by filling every valley and laying low every mountain and hill and (2) by straightening winding ways, smoothing rough roads. In a way it would be nice to live amidst similar scenery, even though in another way it is somewhat monotonous… But surely the prophet is not talking about geographical valleys and hills, although he uses them as examples. The reason for straightening his paths is very simple… it is to make it possible for “all mankind to see the salvation of God”. In other words to be able to see Jesus, the Messiah, the one who brings the presence and therefore the salvation of God.

If the message of today’s gospel readings is thus, where am I in this scenery? Am I lost in the wilderness? Am I listening to this voice who is pleading that I prepare myself for the coming of the Lord? Am I making it possible for others to see the Lord? And therefore also to participate in the salvation that God wants to bring them??? If I am not ready yet to be prepared for this moment of his coming, how can I pretend to create a relationship with Him?

“Lord, You are surely coming in the world to participate in our life. Give me the ability to prepare myself to see You and to make space for You in my Life.  Thank You Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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