Second Sunday of Advent, December 6
Advent Is Truly a Season of Inspiring Hope and Joyful Expectation, in Which We Are Called to Reflect upon All That Is Truly Important in Our Lives.
Many, many years ago, I remember seeing a movie called “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. It was produced around 1965, and the character of John the Baptist was played by Charlton Heston. Notwithstanding the role of Jesus played by Max Von Sydow, the critics reported that Heston’s portrayal of the Baptist was one which “walked away” with the film.
His portrayal of “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord…’” was truly one which caught your attention.
And as you and I look forward to the majesty of the Christmas season and the anniversary of the Birth of the Christ Child, the Eternal Word made flesh who came to us as an Infant born in the humblest of surroundings, it is the message of the Baptist which still resonates within the hearts of God-fearing people everywhere, for we are each called to open our hearts to “Prepare the way of the Lord” – to receive the Kingdom of God within ourselves!
And throughout the course of human history and God’s relationship with His children as recorded in the Old Testament, the Chosen People of God constantly struggled in their understanding of their Creator and in the relationship to which they were called to live with Him. And in this struggle, they had faced some marvelous highs; but there were times when they also experienced some very severe lows.
Our Readings today begin with the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. As a messenger of God, Isaiah was speaking the words of God offering to the Jewish people a vision of hope, a vision is which “…the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together.”
And he proclaims a prophecy to the people and a nation who were under siege from the Assyrian army, “Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him.”
They were words which were meant to uplift the broken-hearted. They were words which were meant to strengthen those who were despairing and whose faith was floundering, calling God’s people back to a reliance on God’s promises, rather than placing their trust in human endeavors.
God was promising them through His prophet that, in the fullness of time, God would become to them like a Shepherd who “…feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.”
Even for each of us today, how often do we feel despair at all that is happening in the world today? How often do we feel anguish at how Satan has penetrated and seduced the hearts of so many of God’s children, even to the point of persecuting God’s Church and martyring those who worship His Son?
And, as an added evil, societies and governments around the world openly reject God’s Truth and embrace a lie – perpetrated by the prince of lies – in that marriage, in its complementarity between one man and one woman, is no longer sacrosanct, where the sanctity of new life in the womb is no longer considered safe and inviolable, and that one’s personal relationship with God has no viable place in the public forum!
Yet, we are promised that this period of darkness and conflict will one day end, and the God of Mercy will extend His hand to each of us, His faithful disciples, leading and guiding us from the shadows in which we live our lives today, into a Kingdom filled with His Light and His Love.
In spite of all the unrest we witness in our world today, and in spite of the culture of secularism and the materialistic gods which people have made for themselves, there are many of God’s children throughout the world who truly hunger to know Him better. There are many who truly hunger for His Truth, who long to feel His Love and guiding Hand in their lives.
The voices of secularism and relativistic thinking continuously try to drown out the true Voice of Selfless Love and Divine Truth – God Himself! But when our hearts are opened to receiving what God truly has to offer us, then, as we read in the Second Letter of Peter, our hope becomes enlivened and reinvigorated –
“But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.”
As we continue our journey of faith in this season of Advent, we continue to prepare our hearts for the coming of God’s Kingdom to take hold within us in a more complete and a more profound way. For the faithful Christian, Advent becomes a season during which we are called to reflect upon all that is truly important in our lives. Yet, as we well know, there are segments of the world’s culture which wish to deny the true meaning and spirit of Christmas.
Many stores and commercial outlets have removed the word Christ or Christmas from all their advertising literature. Christmas trees are now holiday trees or trees of illumination. And there have been numerous articles written in various magazines and newspapers about what is referred to as the war on Christmas.
And during this time in which many throughout the world are facing health issues with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many in government who wish to shut down Christmas with all its wonderful and spiritual observances!
But, as faithful Christians, we know that God is always present in our midst, that He is not some distant God who has left us alone. And we know how this battle against Jesus Christ and His Love for us will ultimately end. We have the end of the story already written for us! We are only waiting for the final act to play itself out!
For each of us today, and until that final day appears, Advent becomes a season which gives us an inspiring hope. It is a season of joyful expectation, for God Himself became intimately involved with man’s salvation when He took upon Himself our flesh – our human nature, and was born into the world which He created!
In all the preparations we make in honoring and celebrating our Lord’s Nativity, Christmas is not about receiving gifts or participating in parties, though all these things are wonderful in their proper place. Christmas is about the Holy Birth of Jesus Christ, who brings meaning and hope to a world which needs redemption!
In Him, and only in Him, do we realize our true and lasting hope! And it is only when we open our hearts to all that He offers to each of us, wherein we find the Kingdom of God residing within us, guiding us in our acts of selfless love for one another.
Each one of us is called to “Prepare the way of the Lord” in our own hearts. Each one of us is called to “make straight his paths” in the life we live daily on this side of Heaven.
In the midst of a world in which we find the moral compass of society wavering, in the midst of a culture in which the ideal of selfless giving of love oftentimes gives way to personal greed and selfishness, in the midst of a society wherein faithfulness and fidelity is sadly found wanting in many of God’s children – we find, within this season and for the true Christian at heart, a time of preparation, the knowledge that True Love, Divine Love itself, has never abandoned us, that the God of our fathers has never forsaken us, and, in a most profound and intimate way, remains with us always!
As we prepare our hearts during this season of expectation and hope, let us “Fear not to cry out” with both faith and joy the words of Sacred Scripture, “Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD!”
For truly, “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’’” (Mark 1:2-3 ~ Isaiah 40:3)
- “Cry out, do not fear! Say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him.” (Isaiah 40:9c-10)
- “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, leading the ewes with care.” (Isaiah 40:11)
- “But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.” (2 Peter 3:13-14)
- “Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven.” (Psalm 85:11-12)
- “All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with joyful cries. For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, the great king over all the earth.” (Psalm 47:2-3)
- “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
- “In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)
- “And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
- “Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful deeds. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may he fill all the earth with his glory. Amen and amen.” (Psalm 72:18-19)
Prayer for the Day
“Father in Heaven,
the day draws near when the glory of Your Son
will make radiant the night of the waiting world.
“May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy
which moves the hearts of those who seek Him.
“May the darkness not blind us
to the vision of Wisdom
which fills the minds of those who find Him.
“We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”cf. Second Sunday of Advent (Roman Breviary)