Our family prayer around the Advent Wreath
Leader: As we gather round our Advent wreath to prepare for the lighting of the second candle, let us pray that nothing may hinder us from receiving Christ with joy.
1. A voice cries in the wilderness:
All: Prepare a way for the Lord!
2. Across the desert, through the valleys, over every mountain:
All: Make his paths straight!
3. Repent and believe the Good News:
All: For the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand!
Leader: Let us pray together
God of power and mercy, open wide the doors of our hearts in welcome to the Lord, our Emmanuel. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
WATCH! PREPARE A WAY FOR THE LORD!
Welcome to the 2nd Sunday of Advent . The word “Advent” means “coming” and starts with a message similar to the theme of last week’s Mass. Be ready and watch for the coming of Jesus. However, it means a little more than just coming; it conveys to us an expectancy within the person waiting. This can be understood in three ways.
First, we anticipate Christ’s advent on Christmas. We go beyond the materialism of the modern world by a focus on the real meaning of the feast: God enters human existence in a totally personal way.
Second, we look forward to Jesus’ arrival in our lives through the blossoming of our faith and the insight we have as pure ‘gift’ to see God’s saving work at hand in Christ within His Word, Sacrament and Community. Thus in a mystical way we bring his body into the world through our union with him also in the communion of saints.
Finally, we speculate on the end of this universe at the conclusion of time. The universe is not self-sustaining. Eventually it will terminate in some sort of extinction. Time is finite. It will reach a culmination either in a vast cataclysm or total dissolution. Then the real universe will begin in God.
So, welcome to Year B! During Advent and Lent, the three Readings in the Liturgy of the Word are linked….see if you can see and hear the links!
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in our being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link.
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5. 9-11
‘Console my people, console them’ says your God. ‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended, that her sin is atoned for, that she has received from the hand of the Lord double punishment for all her crimes.’
A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Go up on a high mountain, joyful messenger to Zion. Shout with a loud voice, joyful messenger to Jerusalem. Shout without fear, say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God.’ Here is the Lord coming with power, his arm subduing all things to him. The prize of his victory is with him, his trophies all go before him. He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon the first reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word.)
Psalm: Ps 84:9-14
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
a voice that speaks of peace,
peace for his people.
His help is near for those who fear him
and his glory will dwell in our land. R.
Mercy and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
and justice look down from heaven. R.
The Lord will make us prosper
and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
and peace shall follow his steps. R.
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14
There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.
Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace. This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
PAUSE again after this Reading and reflect like you did after the first Reading. The Community response is the sung ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday! We never say it… 🙂
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight,
and so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection time again……. see if you can hear the links, and see the bridges between the three Readings. After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..
DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES
Focusing the Word
Key words and phrases
The Good News of Jesus Christ.
Prepare a way for the Lord.
Someone is following me who is more powerful than I am.
Here is your God; here is the Lord coming with power.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.
to the point
The gospel is more about Jesus than John. Similarly, Advent is more about Jesus’ present and future comings than about his past coming in Bethlehem. We prepare for Jesus’ coming now by ‘living holy and saintly lives ‘ and by living ‘without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace’ (second reading). In this way we also hasten his future coming.
Connecting the Word
to the first reading
Isaiah proclaimed an Old Testament ‘good news’: ‘Here is the Lord coming with power.’ This is fulfilled in Jesus, the one ‘who is more powerful than I am’ who has come to save us.
to our Advent experience
We spend Advent preparing for Christmas and this is appropriate. These readings, however, broaden our understanding of Advent to include the ways Jesus comes to us every day and the way he will come in final glory.
Understanding the Word
John the Baptist: Messenger and Servant
The title of the gospel makes clear its main subject: ‘The Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.’ Throughout the gospel Mark will turn the spotlight on Jesus. Whenever the light shines on anyone else – disciples, opponents, the crowd – it always casts Jesus into even sharper relief.
The gospel begins with a prophecy from the Old Testament, – I am sending my messenger ahead of you. The messenger, of course, is John the Baptist; the ‘you’ is Jesus. Mark has already made a point: Jesus is the fulfilment of prophecy. This passage in which God addresses Jesus anticipates the account of the baptism when the voice from heaven says to Jesus, ‘You are my beloved Son’ (1:11).
The first half of the prophecy, addressed to Jesus, indicates that the messenger’s mission is to ‘prepare your way.’ The second half tells the messenger to ‘prepare the way of the Lord.’ In this way Mark informs the reader that Jesus is ‘the Lord.’ Ironically, while this quote is used to explain the mission of John, it ends up illuminating Jesus.
Having presented the messenger and the mission, Mark now introduces John’s message but in such a way that once again John is diminished while Jesus is spotlighted. The narrator uses third-person speech to describe what John proclaimed – a baptism of repentance. However, when John speaks of Jesus we are given a first-person speech. Thus, the message about John is indirect, while the message about Jesus is direct. In John’s proclamation he further indicates his subordinate status in two ways: first, by explicitly acknowledging that ‘someone more powerful is following me’; and, second, by claiming that he is unworthy to ‘undo the strap of his sandals.’ This is the work of a slave, not a job a disciple would be expected to do for his master. John sees himself as lower than a slave in comparison to Jesus. Thus, though John may be the main character in this Sunday’s episode, he is little more than a shadow cast by the light, Jesus.
A REALHOMILIE FROM Fr.Kev
Dear One and All,
In all of our Churches during Advent we encourage the use of the Sacrament of Penance. Lent and Advent have this ‘Reconciliation theme’ as the fundamental basis for a personal response to what we hear in today’s 1st Reading from the Prophet Isaiah,” Prepare in the wilderness a way for our God.’ Or is Lent it would be: Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.’ The need for mercy and forgiveness is not only personal; it is for all of us. A community response is envisaged from the Invitation to be vigilant and watchful. In order to highlight the social consequences of ‘sin’ and the joy of ‘forgiveness’ The Church strongly urges you and your family to go to the 2nd Rite of Reconciliation, in your local Parish Community, or specific Church in your Deanery. They usually start at 7.30PM, so check up the Parish website, so that you can make that a date! Now, don’t forget to take along a plate! Yes, so often when we gather as family and friends, we generally take along a plate…..don’t forget to take along your plate of preparation for the Sacrament! The Advent Garden at the end of this week’s and last weeks realhomilie might get you started…. Early next week I will post an article like a Review of Life to help you even further.
The time of Advent is a busy time of the year with lots of frustrations and extra activities in the work place, and at home. Within all the noise of what is going on around us, like Office Parties and Shopping sprees, there is that gentle but strong sounding invitation: Prepare a way for the Lord! It is at this point we could well ask ourselves, how do we do this? The answer lies in our hearts! Our hearts are to be the Bethlehem this Christmas. The stable was not the most ideal place for a baby to be born, but it was all that was available at the time. We need to ask ourselves seriously during this time of Advent: How will we prepare our hearts to celebrate this feast? We need to ask ourselves honestly if the Christmas lights and decorations, getting the Ham, and Plum Pudding are our priority? Is Advent a time of waiting for a few days off to go to the Beach? Do we put the Lord’s Invitation first; prepare a way for the Lord, be on the alert for Christ’s presence in the Sacraments, and in each other?
Those people who came to John the Baptist responded to an invitation; we have been gifted with the Holy Spirit in Baptism and more realised in Confirmation. We have the Spirit, of course, but the Spirit may not have us! The central condition for an infusion of the Holy Spirit is to want the Spirit, and to ask for a deeper and deeper infiltration and awareness of the Spirit in us, and in others. As Jesus said, ‘the Holy Spirit is like a fountain of living water that rises up from within a person. In other words, it begins in the heart and comes up from there. ‘The Father will surely give the Spirit to those who ask.’ ‘Ask and you will receive’. If you would like to check out these gifts, do yourself a favour and look up St.Paul’s letter to the Galatians Chapter 5, Verses 22-26. If we are looking for ways to prepare our hearts to receive Christ with Joy, we need to examine the quality of these gifts in us, and then take it for there…..Advent is an exciting time of the Church Year!
To finish off……how about a starter for our fine tuning for Advent…..how about we make a Garden; and Advent Garden, seeing that we are in the Southern Hemisphere its a time for growth.
First, plant four rows of peas.
Next to them plant three rows of Squash.
Then plant lettuce.
Let us be truthful.
Let us be loyal.
Let us be faithful.
Let us love one another.
No garden is complete without turnips.
Turn up for the Parish Community Eucharist.
Turn up for Community Advent Reconciliation. (Check out your Parish Bulletin, website)
Turn up for ‘Prayer’ at home with the family.
Turn up for sharing & evaluation.
Turn up to celebrate with the
Community….who needs an occasion?
Turn up on time.
Turn off your Mobile ‘phone before you pray with the community!
God Bless you and your family, and may we never forget each other the next time when we are held in conversation with the Lord, Fr.Kev
OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………
This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. You might like to create your own Advent Wreath…very simple, for ideas please check out the Posting November 21. Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. Someone in the family might like to be the leader, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…
Leader: Comforted by the promise that you care for us as a shepherd cares for his flock, we bring these needs to you with great trust.
- For all those in leadership positions in our Church, in Rome, in our diocese, and in our parish, that they may be guided by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we pray to the Lord: Come, Lord Jesus!
- For all who work in various governmental offices at every level, that they be true servants of the people who need their expertise and help in their daily lives, we pray to the Lord: Come, Lord Jesus!
- For all those who need consolation in their lives, because of the loss of a loved one or financial insecurity or fragile physical or emotional health, we pray to the Lord: Come, Lord Jesus!
- For all the homebound and hospitalised of our parish and for all those who care for them, that they may know joy in their lives, we pray to the Lord: Come, Lord Jesus!
- As our new week begins, let’s look back to last week. Did we see events and situations in our world which invite prayer from us? If so, would anyone like to share a prayer……..?
- Let’s gather all our prayers spoken and shared and those that are deep within our hearts as we pray the great Prayer of the Church…….Our Father…
Leader: O God, comforter of all your people, make us ever aware that we have been baptised in the Holy Spirit and redeemed in the blood of your Son, Jesus, who lives and loves forever and ever. Amen.
Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.
1. The Cross
ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
3. The pain
ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.
4. The joy………………
ALL: WE SHALL SHARE IT.
5. The Gospel……………
ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
6. The love…………
ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.