Second Week of Advent
December 1, 2016 3:13 PM
Today we encounter the John the Baptist, the central figure of the Advent season, who was a contemporary of Jesus and was born through the intercession of his parents, Zachariah and Elizabeth. They were elderly and to have a child was no longer possible for them until the Angel Gabriel visited and announced that they would have a son. Zachariah was skeptical and was rendered mute until his son was born. After the child’s birth, he prophesied what his son’s mission would be: “You my child shall be called the prophet of the most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.” (Canticle of Zachariah)
John fulfilled his mission by going into the desert and preaching to the people. They were to prepare for the coming of the Messiah by the repentance of their sins and the conversion of their lives. Thousands responded to his approach and after listening to him did repent and were baptized by John. He did not perform any miracles and yet his influence was phenomenal. Even Jesus said of John: “Among those born of women there was not one greater than John the Baptist.” (Mt. 11:11)
John instructed his followers to turn to Christ and reform their lives and so we too are invited to prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming through our repentance and reformation of our lives. In these days of Advent, let us be prophets and announce the coming of Christ, our Lord and God through our words, deeds, and actions.
First Week of Advent
November 21, 2016 2:02 PM
Several Sundays ago I happened to look at the eastern horizon just as the supermoon was rising over the tree line. Early the following morning, as I sat in my prayer chair, again I happened to look up at the darkness and there was the moon slowly setting behind the tall pine tree while in the east the sun was slowly bringing the light of day. It gave me a sense of calm and peace of mind and heart as I felt awe for our common home, Mother Earth.
Advent calls me to ponder light and darkness in our world community and the community of which I am a part in my daily life as the time of darkness grows each day during Advent as we move into winter. Spiritually, I recall what darkness means, what Jesus proclaimed about the darkness and the meaning of light as He told us, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12) We need not fear the darkness. In the stillness and quiet of darkness, the Holy Spirit can instruct our minds and hearts how to live the Gospel life that Jesus came to announce. As we follow His teachings, written in the Scriptures, we will have a way of life that will proclaim “You are the light of the world. Just so your light must shine before others.” (Mt. 5:14-16)
As an Advent practice, open your New Testament Bible and read as you search for the very practical teachings of Jesus, trusting that the Holy Spirit will lead you each day to the words of Jesus that are meant for you. His teachings will enlighten your minds and hearts, dispelling any darkness that will prevent you from being the “light of the World.” Come Lord Jesus.