- For Your Marriage - US Bishops website (Catholic Website of the week-by the laptop computer)
- Nun Who Claims "Divine Help" Advances to Final of MasterChef Brazil
(Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Call Nursing Homes During This Time of Year; Reflection for Second Week of Advent (Helpful Hints for Life)
***Sunday Readings and Reflections at end of e-weekly***
During the weeks of Advent we prepare for Christ coming as the word made flesh beginning December 25. But we also prepare for His final coming at the end of time called His Second Coming, we prepare for this especially during the first two weeks of Advent.
While much is said about Christ’s Second Coming in the Holy Bible and elsewhere, the most important thing to remember is that when He comes, time and the world as we know it, ends. It does not mean Christ reigning on earth as we know it. The Second Coming means the end of time, the Final Judgment, Heaven or Hell forever. The Church puts it this way:
On Judgment Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #681)
Today and everyday of our lives, but especially during Advent, we give thanks for His first coming and prepare for His Second Coming!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Advent, the second week of the new Church liturgical year! The readings can be found at: Second Sunday of Advent | USCCB
a) reached its height with King David
b) it will only occur at the end of time
c) Jesus Christ coming among us
d) no one person or thing is the full and definite Revelation
10. What is the value of private revelations?(CCC 67)
a) there is no value
b) valuable only to the easily confused
c) these are tricks of the devil trying to confuse devout believers
d) they may be helpful to individuals living out the Faith in particular times
The Transmission of Divine Revelation
11. Why and in what way is divine revelation transmitted? (CCC 74)
a) through Jesus Christ
b) the proclamation of the followers of Christ
c) Apostolic Tradition (teaching of the apostles and their successors) is essential
d) all of the above
(Answers at end)
Second Coming (also called the Parousia)
- the glorious return and appearance of Christ Jesus as judge at the end of time
[At the second coming, Christ will judge the living and the dead. History and all creation will achieve their fulfillment. References to it are frequent in the New Testament, as the writers describe the ultimate triumph of Jesus and the establishment of his kingdom (I Thessalonians 4:15-17; Matthew 24:3-14; II Peter 1:16).]
Reflections For The Second Week of Advent
And With Your Spirit
In the United States, we mark both the second week of Advent and our third week of our sixth year with a new English translation of the Roman Missal. Every day while traveling this week, I have found myself at a different parish fumbling with both the pages and the words on the page. Though excited and (seemingly) prepared for these changes, I have been jolted a bit by the communal experience of proclaiming two of the new responses.
Four times now in the liturgy, we respond to the priest with "And with your spirit." I've joked for years with my audiences how the response "And also with you" is so imbedded in us that we would start it reflexively from a dead sleep or in a crowded supermarket if provoked by, "The Lord be with you!" That is going to take a while to undo.
The second is the Communion response formed from the Scriptural response of the Roman Centurion to Our Lord: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." Beautiful.
I find both of these responses simply beautiful to hear and proclaim together in the English even with a familiarity with "Et cum spiritu tuo" and "Domine, non sum dignus..." from the Latin.
I do harbor a mild fear, I suppose, that these distinctive appeals to "spirit" and "soul" risk affirming, in some, that ever-present false dualism regarding our human personhood. One that claims an "either/or" separation instead of a "both/and" integration of our spiritual and bodily natures.
What these changes invite is a deeper participation in the true mystery of God, His Bride the Church, and our own likeness to Him. Paradoxes, tensions, and apparent contradictions are old friends to believers: fully God and fully Man; Unity and Trinity; faith and reason; body and soul. The list goes on.
Entertaining such a dualism during this season of Advent is ironic, of course, since this is when we prepare to encounter once more "the fact that the Word of God became flesh" and "the body entered theology...through the main door" (TOB 23:4). Amen. Alleluia!
Damon Owens is a speaker with the Theology of the Body Institute. Damon and his wife Melanie have been teaching and promoting Natural Family Planning (NFP) from Seton Hall University and throughout New Jersey since 1993. They serve as NFP Program Coordinators for the Archdiocese of Newark (N.J.), and are founders of the
New Jersey Natural Family Planning Association. Damon keeps a full speaking schedule at national conferences, marriage seminars, high schools, seminaries, and youth groups on the good news of sexuality, chastity, Theology of the Body, Theology of the Family, and NFP. Damon currently lives in New Jersey with his wife Melanie, and their seven children.
For Your Marriage
The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has created a Website with suggestions preparing for Marriage, those who live in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and general information about it. Check it out. Couldn't your Marriage use some special time and attention?
PRUDENTLY INVITE THE COMMUNITY TO MIDNIGHT MASS (if you have Christmas Mass at Midnight)
Christmas is loved by all it seems. And having a Mass at Midnight, the first moment of the day we celebrate Jesus coming into the world can be an intriguing and door opening way to bring Christians together to pray.
It can bring Christians together to pray and welcome Jesus as one, as He prays we are. The time would not conflict with Worship at other places. The beauty and grace of that night would be shared with many.
Check with your Parish Priest for his thoughts and direction and permission. But one can put in invitation in the newspaper, share a spot on the radio, create yard signs with the church's picture, and other communication means. It might just touch some hearts in a special way!
Nun, Who Claims ‘divine help,’ Advances to Final of MasterChef Brasil
By: Lise Alves
Date: December 3, 2020
SAO PAULO (CNS) — A Brazilian nun who has moved into the finals of a TV cooking show said she received “divine help” and prayed the entire time she was cooking.
The “divine help,” she said, helped her notice that the shrimp she was supposed to cook were not deveined.
“If I had left them the way they gave them to me I would not have won,” said Sister Lorayne Caroline Tinti, a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Resurrection. She prepared shrimp stroganoff and tiramisu for the episode of MasterChef Brasil. Sister Tinti is now scheduled to compete in the show’s 2020 final contest, at the end of December.
“Many people mentioned how calm I was throughout the episode, and I tell them it was because I was praying for Our Lord to help me get through it. That gave me confidence,” Sister Tinti told Catholic New Service.
Sister Tinti said she learned to cook early, with members of her family.
“My mother, aunt and grandmother always cooked so I learned from them. My father also was interested in the preparation of food,” she told CNS.
Her culinary skills, she noted, improved while living in the order’s mission house in the state of Minas Gerais.
“We had a bakery there which the sisters ran, so I learned about making pastries and bread,” she added.
While looking at her social media, Sister Tinti came across a call for participants for MasterChef Brasil and decided to register.
“I needed authorization and, at first, the mother superior was not very keen on me leaving the convent to go on TV, but the sisters here convinced her,” she said with a chuckle.
Asked what motivated her to sign up for the contest, Sister Tinti said the show gave her a chance to talk about the social projects that the sisters do with the elderly and children, and to encourage young people into looking to religious life as an option.
“After the show we had many lay persons call up asking how they could help our projects, and a few young people wanting to know more about religious life in general,” she said.
But it was not only laypeople who reached out to Sister Tinti after the cooking challenge: “I received calls congratulating me for my participation from many religious, including two bishops.”
Asked about her favorite food to prepare, Sister Tinti was quick to say eggplant.
“It is so versatile, you can fry it, you can bake it, you can grill it,” she said.
Those who eat her meals, however, say she excels in pastries and deserts.
“Whenever there is a celebration, it is always ‘let Sister Lorayne bake the cake,'” she said as she laughed.
Sister Tinti says she does not know what the organizers will ask her to cook for the finals, but she is certain of two things: She will once again ask for divine help and will pray while cooking.
| Andrew Fowler | November 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
Father Dennis Callan’s health was rapidly declining. His situation was so dire that his dentist refused to even pull a tooth out of fear that the he would bleed to death.The cause? Advanced cirrhosis of the liver.
When he announced to his parishioners in November 2015 that he had to leave for “personal reasons,” one parishioner took notice: his friend U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Chris Moore.
Moore and his wife, Heidi, met Father Callan in 2014 at Camp Humphreys. The Moores and Father Callan would share meals together and socialize after Mass, particularly at Knights of Columbus council meetings — both men were members of Bishop John J. Kaising Council 14223 on the base. Father Callan was a spiritual guide as the Moores welcomed two children into their growing family.
“He was a support during our time in Korea because my wife was new to Catholicism,” said Moore, currently stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, while his two children and his wife live in Arizona. “Father Dennis was there to guide us and strengthen us in our relationship and help us to get to where we are today.”
When Father Callan returned to the U.S., his hepatologist in Chicago told him that he was lucky to have survived the trip from South Korea. His only chance of survival was a liver transplant.
Members of family were tested to see if they could donate, but no one was compatible. By the end of December 2016, Father Callan’s health began free-falling.
He began arranging his funeral.
“I decided I did not want to go on this (donor) list,” Father Callan said. “I figured, I’m a priest and I would accept whatever the Lord had in mind for me and I did not want to take the opportunity away from another to receive a liver.”
Throughout the process, Father Callan and the Moores kept in touch. When Father Callan told the Moores that every option seemed exhausted, they offered to be tested to see if one of them was a compatible donor.
Father Callan was completely shocked at the Moores’ offer. Especially because it would not be easy for Chris to donate, due to Army regulations regarding organ donations.
It turned out that navigating these regulations was worth it. Chris was a match.
In May 2017, Moore and Father Callan went in for surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
“We said our ‘goodbyes’ and I told (the Moores), ‘I’ll see you on the other side,'” Father Callan said. “The next morning I woke up and I said, ‘I feel 100% better already.'”
Father Callan was in surgery for 10 hours and received more than two-and-a-half pounds of his brother Knight’s liver. Moore noticed the immediate health differences in his friend when he visited him the day following the surgery.
“We call each other brothers now because we share something in common, our livers,” Moore said with a smile. “We share a special bond and he’s able to do what he does, continue to be able to do what he wants to do which is minister to people.”
The brotherhood between Father Callan and Moore is shown in “Everyday Heroes,” a video series produced by the Knights of Columbus. The series showcases ordinary men acting in extraordinary ways, who are strengthened by their Catholic faith and membership in the Knights of Columbus.
“One of the things that I felt very strongly about is that the brotherhood among the members of the Knights of Columbus is important because men need a lot of support in the faith,” Father Callan said.
Father Callan and the Moores attended the Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage — an international event co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus along with the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services to bring healing to military personnel and their families at the Marian shrine in France.
When reflecting on this period in his life, Father Callan sees God’s providence.
“What we have to realize is that God is present with us,” Father Callan said. “God is leading us, guiding us through the many, many things, many trials that we face. God is always present, caring and loving for us in ways that we don’t necessarily understand.”
Father Callan remains close with the Moores, visiting them at their home in Arizona.
But when apart, the brother Knights still contact each other to talk.
“For me, simply being with Chris or talking with him inspires me and encourages me,” Father Callan said. “We are brother Knights in every sense of the word.”
To see more Everyday Heroes videos go to kofc.org/heroes
By Perry West
Detroit, Mich., Dec 6, 2018 / 02:54 am (EWTN News/CNA)
As part of a recent evangelization outreach, the Archdiocese of Detroit is launching a Christmas campaign to welcome Catholics who may have been away from the Church.
“This is the way that we are responding to the invitation to share the Gospel with others. This is part of the transformation of being a mission-oriented diocese,” Edmundo Reyes, the archdiocese’s communication director, told EWTN News.
The campaign is called “Part of the Family.” Its goal is to create a welcoming environment at Mass and encourage evangelization among the parishioners through virtual tools.
Reyes said these efforts are an extension of the pastoral letter “Unleash the Gospel” released at Pentecost last year. The letter followed several years of preparation, including a year of prayer in 2014 and a synod meeting in 2016.
He said the campaign includes three parts: evangelization training, videos, and a newly published website, specifically focused on Christmas Mass times.
“Our hope is that, with these combined efforts, people that attend Mass once a year or are there for the first time, they experience what we are calling radical hospitality,” he said.
“We target at Christmas knowing there are people who come there for the first time or they haven’t been with us for a while,” he said. “One of the things is we want to be unusually gracious and hospitable for people that come to our churches.”
The first component of the campaign was a day-long evangelization event that included discussions, training, and resource material. More than 800 people from over 120 parishes in the archdiocese attended.
According to the Detroit Catholic, one of the speakers broke down the Gospel into four essential parts. Fr. John Riccardo, pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth, said the Gospel’s message is on the goodness of God found in his creation, sin and its repercussions, God’s response to sin, and mankind’s response to God.
Hospitality was another major focus of the event, which was held Nov. 16. Regular Mass-goers were presented with simple steps to make people feel welcome, like greeting strangers and sitting in the middle of the pews to allow room on the outsides.
The second element of the campaign is a series of Christmas videos, focusing on the universal Catholic family and God’s incarnation, Reyes said.
“We are all part of the same family, and it’s hard to imagine, but we are celebrating God becoming part of our family. So let’s do it together,” says the narrator in the video. “This Christmas, we are thankful that you are one of us, a Catholic, part of the family.”
The first video was released on Saturday, Reyes said, and it has already received roughly 30,000 views. He said more videos will be released weekly.
In addition, paid ads will be run on spotify, youtube, and social media, inviting people to attend Christmas Mass and bring their friends and family. The ads will use geoparameters to reach people in areas near churches in the archdiocese.
The third aspect of the campaign, Reyes said, is a new website, massfinder.org, to help people navigate Christmas Mass times in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He said the website is accessible, giving people an easy way to discover Mass times and invite friends and family.
“If we want to be truly hospitable, the first encounter the people have with us is going to be trying to find out what time Christmas Mass happens.”
The website includes “share buttons” for people to send links of a specific Mass time via social media, email, or text. When it is shared, the user has access to a virtual reminder of that Mass and a map to the parish.
Especially during this season of giving, Reyes said, the most important gift that can be given is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the love of the Father.
“This is a time we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord, God becoming part of the family. And that's the theme - Part of the Family. We want make sure that people feel welcome and invited in the celebration of Jesus' birth.”
Vatican City, Dec 4 / 11:57 am (EWTN News/CNA) - Pope Francis cautioned against the false appearances of those who are proud or vain, saying that true holiness is found in the silent, everyday witness of the poor and humble.
“We should think about so much hidden holiness there is in the Church; Christians who remain in Jesus,” the Pope told those present in the Vatican's Saint Martha guesthouse for his Dec. 4 Daily Mass.
While there are there are some Christians who put on appearances, many others are true saints, he said, noting that they are not necessarily “canonized saints, but saints (who) put the love of Jesus into practice.”
The Pope centered his reflections on the day's first reading from the prophet Isaiah, who speaks of the importance of founding oneself on the rock of the Lord, and foretells the destruction of the high and “lofty” cities, who will be trampled by the poor and needy.
When it comes to being a true Christian, the Pope said, we should not be “Christians in appearance,” whose make-up comes off as soon as the rain begins.
“So many 'apparent Christians,' collapse at the first temptation (because) there is no substance there,” so it's not enough to simply belong to a Catholic family, an association or to be a benefactor if we don’t follow God’s will.
However, there are also many who do follow God’s will and put his love into practice every day, Pope Francis noted, pointing to those who are considered small but who offer their daily suffering to the Lord.
“Let us consider the sick who offer their sufferings for the Church, for others. Let us consider so many of the elderly who are alone, who pray and make offerings,” he said, also recognizing the many families who work hard to raise children and who don’t “strut about,” but bear their problems with hope.
These people are “the saints of daily life,” the Pope said. He also lauded the witness of the many parish priests who carry out their work with love, and without being seen.
Priests who work hard catechizing children, caring for the elderly and the sick, and preparing couples for marriage do the same thing every day, he said, but never get bored “because their foundation is the rock. It is Jesus, it this that gives holiness to the Church, it is this that gives hope!”
Even these hidden saints are still sinners, because we all are, he observed, saying that when a good Christian sometimes falls and commits a grave sin but is penitent and asks forgiveness, it is a good thing.
“Not confuse sin with virtue,” the Pope said, explaining that it’s good to “know well where virtue is, and where sin is, (but) these (people) are founded on rock, and the rock is Christ.”
The proud and the vain are those who have built their house on sand, the Pope said, noting that as the prophet Isaiah said in the first reading, they will be “demolished” while the poor and those who consider themselves nothing in the sight of God will triumph.
He concluded his reflections by encouraging all present to use the time of Advent, in which we prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas, to place our foundation on the Lord, who is our rock and our hope.
“We are all sinners, we are weak, but if we place our hope in Him we can go forward. And this is the joy of a Christian: knowing that in Him there is hope, there is pardon, there is peace (and) there is joy.”
-My dog is an awesome fashion adviser. Every time I ask him what I look like in my clothes, he says “WOW!”
-Dentist: "You need a crown." Patient: "Finally someone who understands me"
-Isn’t it odd the way everyone automatically assumes that the goo in soap dispensers is always soap? I like to fill mine with mustard, just to teach people a lesson in trust.
-The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
-Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give their vacuum one more chance? -Only in America… do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.
Confessions of a Store Santa
While I was working as a store Santa, a boy asked me for an electric train set. “If you get your train,” I told him, “your dad is going to want to play with it too. Is that all right?”
The boy became very quiet. So, moving the conversation along, I asked, “What else would you like Santa to bring you?”
He promptly replied, “Another train.”
A 4-year-old boy was asked to return thanks before a big dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one. Then he thanked God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food. He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, even the Cool Whip.
Then he paused, and everyone waited--and waited. After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, "If I thank God for the broccoli, won't he know that I'm lying?"
I Don't Want to Go
Thanksgiving day was approaching and the family had received a Thanksgiving card with a painting of a pilgrim family on their way to church.
Grandma showed the card to her small grandchildren, observing: "The Pilgrim children liked to go to church with their mothers and fathers."
"Oh yeah?" her young grandson replied, "So why is their dad carrying that rifle?"
The Sunday School Teacher asks, "Now, Johnny, tell me frankly do you say prayers before eating?"
"No sir," little Johnny replies, I don't have to. My mom is a good cook."
Sign on a church bulletin board: "Merry Christmas to our Christian friends. Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends. And to our atheist friends, good luck.
“St. Chromatius reminds us that Advent is a time of prayer, in which we must enter into contact with God. God knows us, He knows me, He knows each of us. He loves me, He does not abandon me. Thus trustingly, let us proceed into the liturgical time that has just begun."
-Pope Benedict XVI
These prayers, faithful translations of the Latin Collects, or opening prayers, may be said every evening when the Advent wreath is lit.
Stir up your power, O Lord, and come, that by your protection we may be rescued from the dangers that beset us through our sins; and be a Redeemer to deliver us; Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
[In English-speaking countries, this Sunday was called "Stirrup Sunday", because the "stir-up" of the Collect was the signal to begin to "stir-up" the fruits for the baking of Christmas cakes and puddings.]
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the paths of your Only-begotten Son: that we may worthily serve you with hearts purified by His coming: Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
We beseech you to listen to our prayers, O Lord, and by the grace of your coming enlighten our darkened minds: You who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
[On the third Sunday in Advent, Gaudete Sunday, the Church can no longer contain her joyful longing for the coming of the Savior. We light the rose candle and rejoice that our redemption is so close at hand. Gaudete comes from the Latin Antiphon, which begins, "Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.." [Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice...]. On this day, rose-colored vestments may be worn, and flowers may decorate the church. ]
Pour forth your power, O Lord, and come: Assist us by that mighty power, so that by your grace and merciful kindness we may swiftly receive the salvation that our sins impede: Who live and reign with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
Second Sunday of Advent – December 6, 2020
The First Reading - Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! 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. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.
The Readings for this Sunday combine Isaiah’s prophecy of John’s ministry (Isa 40) with the account of the beginning of his ministry according to Mark. Through the figure of John the Baptist, Holy Mother Church calls us, like John’s contemporaries, to repent of our sins and ready ourselves to face Jesus. Isaiah 40 is a pivotal text in the structure of the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah 1-39, often dubbed “First Isaiah”, focuses predominantly on the lifetime of the prophet Isaiah and the spiritual issues of the people of Israel in the eighth century BC (700’s). Beginning in Isaiah 40, however, the focus of the prophecies shifts to the future, to a misty and ill-defined era to come, after Israel will have completed her punishments for the sins the prophet identified earlier in his book. In fact, Isaiah 40-66 may be profitably read as a long, mystical description of the “Latter Days”, the eschatological and messianic age. Chapter 40, then, serves as the introduction to the description of the messianic age. The close association of John the Baptist with Isaiah 40 makes John into a kind of “prologue in a person”, a “foreword in the flesh,” an “introduction incarnate.” John is to salvation history what Isaiah 40 is to the entire Book of Isaiah.
Adults - Do you ever take time to meditate on John the Baptist, his life, and his call?
Teens - What do the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus have in common?
Kids - How did John the Baptist get people ready for Jesus?
Responsorial- Psalm 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
R.Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
This Psalm is perhaps chosen because it speaks of the “nearness of salvation”, using the word for salvation (yeshua’) that gives us the name “Jesus.” Our salvation, our Jesus, is near as we liturgically journey through the time of salvation history just before the birth of our Lord. He will be “glory dwelling in the land” during his earthly ministry.
Be on the lookout for the Lord’s kindness in your life this week. Take time to notice and be thankful for it.
The Second Reading- 2 Peter 3:8-14
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out. Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. 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.
Reflection - We have been pondering the Second Coming in the liturgy now for some time, since the final weeks of the last liturgical year and also strongly in the Readings for last week, the First Week of Advent. Our Second Reading continues on this theme, and read in the context of Advent, this reading draws a comparison between the liturgical waiting for Christmas during Advent with the waiting that characterizes our whole lives: the waiting for the return of Jesus, the Second Coming. The long delay in the coming of the Lord is not due to forgetfulness, Peter exhorts us, but should be regarded as a privileged time allowing for conversion among people before the final judgment. But that judgment will come, and the results will be both material and spiritual, the Apostle insists. The key question this reading raises in the context of today’s liturgy is “What sort of person ought you to be?” in light of all that we hear and ponder today. The second is the only one of today’s readings explicitly to raise the practical question: “So what? So what if John the Baptist is the fulfillment of ancient Isaianic prophecy? So what if he spoke of the coming of Jesus? What effect does this have on my life?” St. Peter specifies the effect: you should “all come to repentance,” you should “conduct yourselves in holiness and devotion,” “eager to be found without spot or blemish before him” when he comes in judgment. Indeed, in this reading, St. Peter calls us to be like the crowds that heeded John the Baptist and submitted to his baptism so that they would be “without spot or blemish” when the Messiah John predicted would arrive in Israel. During this Advent Season, we likewise should hurry to the “Second Baptism” of the confessional to be cleansed of every blemish, and spend our days in “holiness and devotion” as we await the coming of Christmas.
-What effect does Jesus and Who He is have on your life?
The Holy Gospel according to Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. 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.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Reflection When we hear this Gospel, we who know who that “mightier one” is and have already received from him the Holy Spirit through the sacraments. During this Advent, let’s daily commit ourselves to repentance, to “holiness and devotion”, that we may appear “without spot or wrinkle.” John, even though he was cleansed from sin from the womb, nonetheless practiced asceticism to preserve himself on the path of holiness. John wore a hair garment and lived on bugs and honey; let us make some personal sacrifices during this Advent. Advent is not Lent, but it is a penitential period, and who of us is not in need of some purification and penance? Let’s not be like the Pharisees and Sadducees, too proud to admit their need and heed John’s preaching!
Adults - Can you add a sacrifice in your life during this time of Advent? How can you make more time for prayer?
Teens - How can you make more time for prayer during Advent?
Kids - How can you add some prayer time into your life this Advent?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! – “As the journey of Advent continues, as we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Christ, John the Baptist's call to conversion sounds out in our communities. It is a pressing invitation to open our hearts and to welcome the Son of God Who comes among us to make divine judgement manifest. The Father, writes St. John the Evangelist, does not judge anyone, but has entrusted the power of judgement to the Son, because He is the Son of man. “And it is today, in the present, that we decide our future destiny. It is with our concrete everyday behavior in this life that we determine our eternal fate. At the end of our days on earth, at the moment of death, we will be evaluated on the basis of our likeness or otherwise to the Baby Who is about to be born in the poor grotto of Bethlehem, because He is the measure God has given humanity. “Through the Gospel John the Baptist continues to speak down the centuries to each generation. His hard clear words bring health to us, the men and women of this day in which even the experience and perception of Christmas often, unfortunately, reflects materialist attitudes. The 'voice' of the great prophet asks us to prepare the way for the coming Lord in the deserts of today, internal and external deserts, thirsting for the water of life which is Christ.” — Benedict XVI
9. What is the full and definitive stage of God's Revelation? c) Jesus Christ coming among us
The full and definitive stage of God’s revelation is accomplished in his Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the mediator and fullness of Revelation. He, being the only-begotten Son of God made man, is the perfect and definitive Word of the Father. In the sending of the Son and the gift of the Spirit, Revelation is now fully complete, although the faith of the Church must gradually grasp its full significance over the course of centuries. “In giving us his Son, his only and definitive Word, God spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word, and he has no more to say.” (Saint John of the Cross)
10. What is the value of private revelations? d) they may be helpful to individuals living out the Faith in particular times
While not belonging to the deposit of faith, private revelations may help a person to live the faith as long as they lead us to Christ. The Magisterium of the Church, which has the duty of evaluating such private revelations, cannot accept those which claim to surpass or correct that definitive Revelation which is Christ.
The Transmission of Divine Revelation
11. Why and in what way is divine revelation transmitted? d) all of the above
God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), that is, of Jesus Christ. For this reason, Christ must be proclaimed to all according to his own command, “Go forth and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19). And this is brought about by Apostolic Tradition.