Second Sunday in Advent

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Is 11:1-10
Rom 15:4-9
Mt 3:1-12

Harmony

Advent is a time of preparation and waiting. We wait once again for the coming of Jesus at our celebration of Christmas, the great reminder that Jesus became incarnate to share human life with us. Advent is the time we prepare or renew ourselves to be ready for Jesus’ coming. The Gospel Acclamation reminds us to “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” We are to contribute in very concrete ways to make our world a better place, a place where we value each other and all of God’s creation.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans states clearly how that is to happen. “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

That last line bears repeating. “Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.” We are called to be open to and welcoming of everyone so that we may be one with Christ, and able to genuinely give glory to God.

Contrary to harmony, we experience our world as a place of war, racial discrimination, violence in word and deed, political discord, and many other examples of divisiveness. A regular diet of TV and print reports of divisiveness poisons our minds to accept these behaviors as normal. This human brokenness has been passed down for generations but never as blatant as in our own time. 

As people of faith we should be aware of brokenness in our own lives and in the lives of others around us. Isaiah provides us with a symbolic image of what this harmony would be like if we are open to and accepting of everyone we meet. “Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.” If even a small bit of this became real we would be in harmony with others, animals and all of God’s creation.

Let’s make this Advent a special time for honest reflection to weed out any form of violence in word or deed that might be present in our lives. Eliminate the criticism, gossip about others, slurs about anyone different than we are, and any other behavior that causes divisiveness rather than harmony.

St. Angela Merici states the ideal for all of us.

…live in harmony, united together, all of one heart and one will. Be bound to one another, helping each other, bearing with each other in Christ Jesus. For if you strive to be like this, without any doubt, the Lord God will be in your midst. 
(Ninth Counsel)

What are some behaviors in your life that might be divisive?

In what ways can you foster harmony in your home, workplace and neighborhood?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Mary Peter Ngui says:

    Dear Sister Maureen, Thank you for your reflections so faithfully every week. Each time for a good many weeks now, I have found something that struck me deeper than it has done before and I have been living with the liturgy for almost 70 years now. “and any other behaviour that causes divisiveness”… I usually think of a list of behaviours, but had never considered any other ones!

    Thank you for sharing and God bless you.

    Mary Peter Ngui, o.s.u.

    Like

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