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Sunday 10 Dec Advent 2

10 December, 2017

Continuing our Journey in Hope Pope Francis reminds us that Advent is a time of hope.

Continuing our Journey in Hope

Pope Francis reminds us that Advent is a time of hope. “Hope is not a concept, it is not a sentiment… it is not a heap of riches! Our hope is a Person, it is the Lord Jesus whom we recognise living and present in us and in our brothers and sisters.

This is his Angelus Message for the Second Sunday of Advent in 2014

This Sunday marks the second stage of the Season of Advent, a marvellous time which awakens in us the expectation of Christ’s return and the memory of his historical coming. Today’s Liturgy presents us with a message full of hope. It is the Lord’s express invitation from the lips of the Isaiah: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (40:1). These words open the Book of Comfort, in which the Prophet addresses the joyous proclamation of liberation to the people in exile. The time of tribulation has ended; the people of Israel can look trustingly toward the future: at last they can return to their homeland. This is the reason for the invitation to let themselves be comforted by the Lord.

Isaiah addresses people who have passed through a dark period, who have been subjected to a very difficult trial; but now the time of comfort has come. Sorrow and fear can be replaced with joy, for the Lord himself will guide his people on the way to liberation and salvation. How will He do all this? With the solicitude and tenderness of a shepherd who takes care of his flock. He will in fact provide unity and security and feed his flock, gather the lost sheep into his sure fold, reserve special attention to the most fragile and weak (v. 11). This is God’s attitude toward us, his creatures. For this reason, the Prophet invites those who hear him — including us, today — to spread this message of hope: that the Lord consoles us. And to make room for the comfort which comes from the Lord.

We cannot be messengers of God’s comfort if we do not first feel the joy of being comforted and loved by Him. This happens especially when we hear his Word, the Gospel, which we should carry in our pocket: do not forget this! The Gospel in your pocket or purse, to read regularly. And this gives us comfort: when we abide in silent prayer in his presence, when we encounter Him in the Eucharist or in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. All this comforts us.

Let us therefore allow Isaiah’s call — “Comfort, comfort my people” — resound in our heart in this Season of Advent. Today there is need for people to be witnesses to the mercy and tenderness of God, who spurs the resigned, enlivens the disheartened, ignites the fire of hope. He ignites the fire of hope! We don’t. So many situations require our comforting witness. To be joyful, comforting people. I am thinking of those who are burdened by suffering, injustice and tyranny; of those who are slaves to money, to power, to success, to worldliness. Poor dears! They have fabricated consolation, not the true comfort of the Lord! We are all called to comfort our brothers and sisters, to testify that God alone can eliminate the causes of existential and spiritual tragedies. He can do it! He is powerful!

Isaiah’s message, which resounds in this second Sunday of Advent, is a salve on our wounds and an impetus to prepare with commitment the way of the Lord. Indeed, today the Prophet speaks to heart to tell us that God condones our sins and comforts us. If we entrust ourselves to Him with a humble and penitent heart, He will tear down the walls of evil, He will fill in the holes of our omissions, He will smooth over the bumps of arrogance and vanity, and will open the way of encounter with Him. It is curious, but many times we are afraid of consolation, of being comforted. Or rather, we feel more secure in sorrow and desolation. Do you know why? Because in sorrow we feel almost as protagonists. However, in consolation the Holy Spirit is the protagonist! It is He who consoles us, it is He who gives us the courage to go out of ourselves. It is He who opens the door to the source of every true comfort, that is, the Father.And this is conversion. Please, let yourselves be comforted by the Lord! Let yourselves be comforted by the Lord!

The Virgin Mary is the “Way” that God Himself prepared in order to come into the world. Let us entrust to Her the salvation and peace awaited by all men and women of our time.

 

Prayer

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 me from the joy

which moves the hearts of those who seek him.

May the darkness not blind me to the vision of wisdom

which fills the minds of those who find him. Amen.

Daily Thoughts

Sunday 10th December

The second week is here! It went quickly. Did I find a few minutes to pause, to be still and pray? No matter what happened last week, today is a new day and I can start again. I should spend some time reflecting on my life, its joys and sorrows. Let me get rid of the dark things that cloud over me. Let my heart be open to Jesus. Let him enter me and work in me today.

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Monday 11th December

Sometimes I can be too hard on myself, too self-critical. I need to be kind to myself. In being kind to myself I can begin the journey of forgiveness – of forgiving others. Today, let me be open to forgiving myself so that in that openness I can forgive others.

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Tuesday 12th December

It is easy to be lost in the world, either physically or in thought through no fault of our own. But what about those who are lost because they know nobody, they are all alone? Do I ignore people who I know are on their own, strangers in my town, refugees? I believe in God, but in doing so, do I share his love and compassion with others? May today be the start of me being more open and loving towards others.

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Wednesday 13th December

Jesus never distinguishes between rich and poor, black or white, those who have and those who don’t. I do. I don’t always know that I am doing it, but it happens. Sometimes, I feel superior to those who do menial tasks or show no respect to those who have more than I have. Let me find time today to be more accepting of others and their situation. I pray today for the gift of humility.

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Thursday 14th December

There are times when I challenge or do not accept other opinions and viewpoints. I often challenge the teaching and wisdom of Jesus, and don’t always realise that I am doing it. Do I allow myself to be enveloped in the love of Christ? What do I fear about his embrace? I pray today for the gift of acceptance. To be able to accept without fear the love of Jesus shown to me in so many different ways.

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Friday 15th December

The end of another busy week. Amid all the hustle and bustle, the shopping and the singing, have I found time to think about the gift God wants to give to me? Am I open to accepting this wondrous gift without question? I can’t take it back if I don’t like it or if it doesn’t fit. I need to trust in God and be open to welcoming him and accepting his gift this Christmas.

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Saturday 16th December

Hark a herald voice is calling. Calling who? Calling me! Am I listening? Every year I hear the familiar Advent words that Jesus is coming. Do I know what this coming means? Am I prepared in my own heart for the coming of Christ? Today, let me prepare by asking God for forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation. It may have been a while since I went to confession, and my sin list is quite long, but God’s mercy is free to all. Perhaps it is time for me to go and accept that loving mercy.

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