December 7, 2014: Second Sunday of Advent
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
“The sacredness and dignity of human life exists not in isolation, but affirmed through individuals growing in community and seeking together the well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable…”
In their “one to one” encounters with God, the prophets draw light and strength for their mission. Their prayer is not flight from this unfaithful world, but rather attentiveness to the Word of God. At times their prayer is an argument or a complaint, but it is always an intercession that awaits and prepares for the intervention of the Savior God, the Lord of history. (2584) Catechism of the Catholic Church
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm: 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
Second Reading: 2nd Peter 3:8-14
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
Catechism of the Catholic Church
John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.” In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah. He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the “voice” of the Consoler who is coming. As the Spirit of truth will also do, John “came to bear witness to the light.” In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels. “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God…. Behold, the Lamb of God.” (719)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Second Sunday of Advent, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Psalm 85: 9 and 11
Peace is the goal of life in society, as is made extraordinarily clear in the messianic vision of peace: when all peoples will go up to the Lord’s house, and he will teach them his ways and they will walk along the ways of peace (cf. Is 2:2-5). A new world of peace that embraces all of nature is the promise of the messianic age (cf. Is 11:6-9), and the Messiah himself is called “Prince of peace” (Is 9:5). Wherever his peace reigns, wherever it is present even in part, no longer will anyone be able to make the people of God fearful (cf. Zeph 3:13). It is then that peace will be lasting, because when the king rules according to God’s justice, righteousness flourishes and peace abounds “till the moon be no more” (Ps 72:7). God longs to give peace to his people: “he will speak of peace to his people, to his saints, to those who turn to him in their hearts” (Ps 85:9). Listening to what God has to say to his people about peace, the Psalmist hears these words: “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss” (Ps 85:11). (490)
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12; Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf.Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
2nd Peter 3:10 and 13
The definitive salvation that God offers to all humanity through his own Son does not come about outside of this world. While wounded by sin, the world is destined to undergo a radical purification (cf. 2 Pet 3:10) that will make it a renewed world (cf. Is 65:17, 66:22;Rev 21:1), finally becoming the place where “righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13).
In his public ministry, Jesus makes use of natural elements. Not only is he a knowledgeable interpreter of nature, speaking of it in images and parables, but he also dominates it (cf. the episode of the calming of the storm in Mt 14:22-33; Mk 6:45-52; Lc 8:22-25; Jn 6:16-21). The Lord puts nature at the service of his plan of redemption. He asks his disciples to look at things, at the seasons and at people with the trust of children who know that they will never be abandoned by a provident Father (cf. Lk 11:11-13). Far from being enslaved by things, the disciple of Jesus must know how to use them in order to bring about sharing and brotherhood (cf. Lk 16:9-13). (453)
2nd Peter 3:13
God’s promise and Jesus Christ’s resurrection raise in Christians the well-founded hope that a new and eternal dwelling place is prepared for every human person, a new earth where justice abides (cf. 2 Cor 5:1-2; 2 Pet 3:13). “Then, with death conquered, the children of God will be raised in Christ and what was sown in weakness and corruption will be clothed in incorruptibility: charity and its works will remain and all of creation, which God made for man, will be set free from its bondage to vanity”.This hope, rather than weaken, must instead strengthen concern for the work that is needed in the present reality. (56)
The intent of the Church’s social doctrine is of the religious and moral order.Religious because the Church’s evangelizing and salvific mission embraces man “in the full truth of his existence, of his personal being and also of his community and social being”. Moral because the Church aims at a “complete form of humanism”, that is to say, at the “liberation from everything that oppresses man” and “the development of the whole man and of all men”. The Church’s social doctrine indicates the path to follow for a society reconciled and in harmony through justice and love, a society that anticipates in history, in a preparatory and prefigurative manner, the “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13). (82)
A true prophetic voice blends kindness, truth, justice and peace. Vengeance is not a motive, for a prophet flows with patience seeking people to recant misdeeds. Can we look beyond appearance and mannerisms of prophets, to grasp the heart of their meaning, their challenge offering hope? Prophetic voices are woven in Scripture and the pathways of today, infusing insight, illuminating a perspective obscured by the darkness of oppression that locks many voices in silence.
Exposing the truth may seem harsh in fracturing the status quo and exposing hypocrisy. The truth may mean observing reality with new eyes. Sharing truth is an act of kindness, not inflicting judgment. For it seeks to take people from living superficially to being alive, to grasp the consequences of their actions. Truth seeks justice. A living in right relationships, grounded in equality of assessing the common good. The fruit of truth is peace, harkening freedom from deception.
John the Baptist concluded the prophetic lineage announcing the coming of the Lord and the impending coming of the Holy Spirit. Incarnated into humanity, the Lord prophetically proclaimed the Kingdom of God in word and association with the ostracized. By our baptism with water, we are called to live prophetically. By speaking the truth, acting with kindness, seeking justice and living as peacemakers, we journey as prophets. The path may appear arduous, rocks and boulders may challenge our steps, but the witness of prophets, past and present, and our baptism by water and the Spirit, strengthens us to live as prophets, for we hear the Lord’s words, “Fear not, Peace be with you.”
Individual Reflection: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Visit the website of Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl: http://www.crsricebowl.org/
Does your parish use these transformational Lenten resources? If so, how might the on-line educational resources be better utilized? If not, introduce the resources to your pastor, pastoral council, religious education department and parish school. Take the initiative to coordinate your parish’s program.
Family Reflection: Psalm 85: 9-10, 11-12, 13-14
Visit the website of John August Swanson and view his serigraph and reflection on Psalm 85:
Have each family member discuss how the art work speaks to their reflection on the Psalm.
Dear God, We thank you for the prophets that harkened the coming of your Son. We thank you for His prophetic words. We thank you for the prophets of our day. Give us the strength to listen to all the prophetic utterances through history. Give us the courage to not shrink when we are called to be prophets. In Jesus dear name we pray, Amen
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born November 25, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.