Monday, December 6, 2010

2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT (December 5th, 2010)

1st reading Isaiah 11:1-10; Ps 71:1-2.7-8.12-13.17, 2nd reading Rom 15:4-9. Gospel

Mt 3:1-12

“The falling drops will at last wear the stone” - Lucretius

PSALM 71

THE FORWARD LOOK

Ageless as a sun or moon he shall endure; /kindly as the rain that drops on the meadow grass, /as the showers that water the earth. / Justice in his days shall thrive, and the blessings of peace; / and may those days last till the moon shines no more. / From sea to sea, from the great river to the ends of the earth, / his sways shall reach…. / he will give the poor redress when they cry to him, / destitute folk, with none to befriend them; / in their need and helpless, they shall have his compassion.



THIS GREAT SONG of longing for truth and justice, called “A psalm of Solomon,” express man’s highest ideals. People of all ages and nations, evil as they can be, have always desired this perfection, this fulfillment of their greatest aspirations. In an earthly sense, little progress has been made toward the goal over centuries. One could not be proved wrong if s/he said that the accomplishment of this end is farther away now than ever, that, if anything, the hope has deteriorated.



But the prophecy has been fulfilled; Christ Jesus “shall endure” and we are sure that “justice in his days shall thrive, and the blessings of peace” and the poorest, the most unjustly treated, the most helpless shall indeed “have his compassion.”Christ has not failed to bring all our hopes to reality; it is we who fail. We do not view our lives as we should; we think of life merely in terms of a few years on earth. It’s like thinking of health only in terms of curing sickness; it is like thinking of an education only in terms of registration day; it is like thinking of an opera only in terms of the first measures of the overture, or like thinking of a football game only in terms of the warm-up. This life is really not life; it is the preparation for life. Until we understand that, we have not understood the universe, we have not human nature, and we have not the slightest notion of God’s plan.



Why do we know little about our resurrection of our bodies, the eternal life for which body and soul are destined? This is the event in which we were created, and to which, according to St. Paul, all creation looks forward. Books ought to be compiled, containing all the beautiful literature of the Church on the resurrection, and all Catholics should read it, and live by it, meditating on it every day! Exaggeration? A simple case of logic.

“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand” Matt 3:1-12.

Dear my brothers and sisters in Christ,


For many centuries people have waited for the king to come, the prince of peace who would come to establish his kingdom here on earth and many are still waiting.


It’s quite very crucial especially in countries that are planning and anxiously waiting for general elections. The country I have in mind as I write this reflection is Uganda and I have the people of northern Uganda at heart and of course with other Ugandans at large who are warming up for the next year 2011 general election. This prince of peace has been yearned for, for many years. All Ugandans are keeping their eyes focused in heaven with great hopes for a sign of that peace, the prince of peace. Someone as s/he reads this will try stretch the mind and ask kwani was there no peace in northern Uganda?

Many have interpreted this peace and all its promises in a materialistic way. Even those who were entrusted to bring this peace doubted, got frustrated, water was splashed upon them, thorns pierced them, rainy showered them, mosquitoes bite them, they slept in forests, rocket bombs flew over their heads not counting haw many died and are still dying to date as we celebrate the second Sunday of Advent.


Sometimes people do not want to imagine that those who are speaking of peace talk any more but a quenching of their thirst for peace day and night. People are fed up with meetings in board rooms, conferences they want people who walk the talk. Is there someone out there hearing or reading this reflection then spare a thought for the people of northern Uganda.


We need a spiritual kingdom, Christ the redeemer and prince of peace is calling us to repent, and bring peace in our neighbourhood and in our homes. This message is very clear as we have St. John the Baptist as our teacher with his message being clear and simple “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand”.


The church is calling upon us to repentance, to renewal, and to real conversion. This is a period of deepening God’s grace in us. Let us examine our faith and actions, call it one root of God’s Kingdom- how deep is it? Do you believe it is still God? That he is creator, Saviour and Sanctifier? Do you believe that he exists and will reward all those who seek him? To believe in God is not the same as believing God. Believing him means simply as scenting to what he says. Believing in him means total surrender of oneself to God. Have you surrendered yourself to him?


Another aspect that we need to examine in this second Sunday of advent is love. Do I love God with all my heart? Christ gave us the measure. “He who loves me,” he said, “keeps my commandments”. Love is a noble sentiment which is capable of growing, but it can grow cold and die. It can be superficial or deep. Are you deepening yours? Not only by keeping the commandments, this is the minimum, let it be by good deeds, by practicing virtue.



Think about any given modern state. If you have a good civil service, good judiciary, good security force, Good and good citizens generally speaking, then your nation is strong. God’s kingdom grows by deep by faith, hope and love.



Prayer is another aspect to examine. Do you still pray? The liturgical movement has done all it could to encourage participatory prayer. But there are times when your “Amen” or any other response is so faint that one may wonder whether we are praying! Private prayer has not lost its importance and one wonders whether we are praying. Community and public prayer will be difficult if it is not nourished by private prayer. Do I pray? How often? How well?


The practice of virtue is a necessary condition for deepening God’s kingdom. How do you appreciate virtue? Try to be virtuous in the world today and you will be called a coward! Because you are fair and just to everyone, because you are respectful and obedient, because you love purity and charity, you will be called, over prudent, immature etc. And this is what it must be, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Repent, do good, renew your life, that God’s kingdom (Grace) may come in you.


“Consider the postage stamp; its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there” – Josh Billings

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ADVENT?

The pagans had used the word “advent” to mean the “coming” of their god. On a fixed day of the year, they would expose its statue, because they were convinced that in this way the god would make its presence felt among its faithful, ready to hand out blessings and favours. The word “advent” was used also to mean the “visit” of a king to a city, or the crowning day of a sovereign.

The Christians applied all these various meanings to the “coming” of their God into the world, who had manifested himself in Jesus Christ, while the term “advent” was used to identify specifically the period of time set aside to prepare this “visit”.

From the way things are: hasn’t Jesus come already? Why do we prepare as if he were to come once again? Is Christmas just a birthday feast and Advent the time one spends to prepare for it buying food and drinks, inviting friends, learning songs and dances? No. Advent is nothing of all this. This is how the pagans prepared their feast of the “birth of the sun”. Christians also rejoice, are happy, sing and dance on Christmas day, but this is not the main aspect of it.

WHAT ARE WE TO DO DURING ADVENT?

The word of God which will accompany us or the coming Sundays tells us that Jesus has not come just once. He keeps coming. He comes and is present at all that happens in the world and in the Church; he comes and is present in all those who spread new ideas, utter words of love, peace and reconciliation, in those who strive to build a new world.

Jesus comes to us every day but we are always out of our homes, and we prefer to close our eyes and ears. Those who are drunk start saying stupid things, many insults are thrown here and there, mishandling his family by them going hungry and children thrown out of school because of lack of school fees. Can Jesus come into the heart of such a man? Or think of a young lady/ man who refuses to study and fails his or her exams for three years in succession, roams around and about and goes to feasts only to abuse drugs, crime and losing the purpose in life or vocation. In such a young man/lady is Jesus truly present in such a person? What about a Christian community whose members are envious, jealous, divided, speak ill of each other, do not help each other. Has Jesus come? In a nation where citizens kill each other, where there is war, violence, injustice, hate, grudges, feuds and so on, has Jesus come? No he has not come and cannot come before the obstacles preventing his coming are removed.

Barriers will have to be pulled down, valleys filled up, men must not be divided by any obstacle any more since whatever divides cuts off also from Christ.

The reading we are going to listen and reflect upon are to invite us to keep vigilant, keep our eyes wide open in order to discover and prepare the ways that Jesus has chosen to come and free us from the evil with which we seek happiness, but that instead provokes only a lot of sorrow.

Prepare your house to receive Christ in your heart by attending Mass, going for confession regularly and being charitable to those who are not privileged around you, visit an orphanage, give a lift a Christian who prays with you in your church, being cheerful always and above all smile in your mind, heart and in your liver.

God bless you abundantly during this season of awaiting….

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