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Proclaim the Kingdom: The Second Sunday of Advent

Proclaim the Kingdom:

The Second Sunday of Advent

December 4, 2022

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Isaiah 1:1-10; Psalm 72; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12


          We know that Advent is in full swing when we hear the Isaian vision for the peaceable kingdom where justice and peace shall meet evidenced by the lion laying down in harmony with the lamb. John the Baptist bursts onto the scene announcing the coming of the Messiah, the one through whom God’s kingdom shall rule upon the land. It is a time of promise and a time of waiting where we see small signs of the inbreaking of God’s reign into our lives, and we become grateful for those small but certain miracles. Both John and Isaiah announce a description of the kingdom of God.


          The church’s mission is to express the reign of God in words and actions. Its purpose is more than just keeping alive the memory of Jesus. The church is to be what it proclaims, for it is to signify God’s transformative power in this world. As we and the church are always going through conversion, we ask ourselves, “Is my parish expressing the reign of God as John the Baptist and Isaiah did?” If not, what must I do? “Does my life model the life of Jesus?” Critical self-reflection will keep us oriented to the reign of God, for the church and the reign of God are not the same.


          What are aspects of the reign of God that we might need to examine? The church needs to express the Gospel of Jesus that resonates with people in various cultures and contexts. The church does not have one message of one size fits all, and is dependent upon people of different cultures sharing their experience of Jesus. The church is to be at ease with the world, not fighting against it, while incorporating differing viewpoints and perspectives that enrich the church. One’s individuality will not be diminished or destroyed in the church’s quest for unity. The church is not a self-absorbed cluster of a chosen few because it always has to expand itself to meet people where they are without trying to change them. The church’s job is simple: bring Jesus’s message to the world.


          The church is to be a place of liberating transformation, and this comes about when it is open to the world around it. All members of the church will eventually come to know that they are not the sole source of the church’s beliefs and priorities. No one owns the truth and there are multiple viewpoints and experiences of Jesus acting for people in times, cultures, and places that might surprise us. Our job isn’t to make our experience of worship comfortable and safe among like-minded people, but it is to find innovative ways of bringing the love of Jesus to those who need to experience him, whether it is to those faithfully inside the pews, but mostly to those who are on the periphery of our lives. Remember the wolf will be a guest of the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid. We have to stretch our mindsets to be more inclusive of those outside our parish circle. 


The church is catholic because she has been sent by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race, not to one particular faith or people. The diversity of voices must become a symphony rather than cacophony. The Spirit finds what is in common through a spirit of dialogue and encounter, and we are expected to engage with those who are listening to the Spirit, but in each’s unique settings, without changing them, without impose a monologue of thoughts onto them. 


The church needs to see itself as a communion with shared mission. Communal identity is a symbol of the risen Jesus, who is not alone, but is surrounded by saints. Where Christians share their lives, there is also a shared life in God, a mutually self-giving life. Let’s go back to our original source – like the Baptist and Isaiah – to proclaim the promises of God’s kingdom that exists here on earth. This is a vision we long to see, and yes, it is breaking in around us already.  


Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading: 

Monday: (Isaiah 35) Here is your God, he comes with vindication. The eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf will be cleared.


Tuesday: (Isaiah 40) Give comfort to my people. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated.


Wednesday: (Isaiah 40) Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these things. Do you not know? Have you not heard?


Thursday: (Genesis 3) After Adam ate of the tree, God called to him, “Where are you?” I heard you were in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.   


Friday (Isaiah 48) I, the Lord, will teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. Hearken to my commandments.


Saturday (Sirach 48) A prophet named Elijah appeared whose words were as a flaming furnace. By the Lord’s word, he shut up the heavens and brought down fire three times.



Monday: (Luke 5) After Jesus healed the man on a stretcher, he forgave his sins. The scribes and Pharisees protested and asked, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies?”


Tuesday: (Matthew 18) If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them is lost, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?


Wednesday (Matthew 11) Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.


Thursday (Luke 1) The angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin betrothed to Joseph to announce that the Holy Spirit would overpower her and she would conceive a son.  


Friday (Matthew 11) How shall I consider you? I played a dirge for you and you would not mourn; I played a flute for you and you would not dance.


Saturday (Matthew 17) As Jesus came down the mountain, the disciples asked, “Why do they say Elijah must come first?” Elijah has come and will indeed come to restore all things.


Saints of the Week


December 6: Nicholas, bishop (d. 350), lived in southwest Turkey and was imprisoned during the Diocletian persecution. He attended the Council of Nicaea in 324. Since there are many stories of his good deeds, generous charity, and remarkable pastoral care, his character became the foundation for the image of Santa Claus.


December 7: Ambrose, bishop and doctor (339-397) was a Roman governor who fairly mediated an episcopal election in Milan. He was then acclaimed their bishop even though he was not baptized. He baptized Augustine in 386 and is doctor of the church because of his preaching, teaching and influential ways of being a pastor.


December 8: The Immaculate Conception of Mary is celebrated today, which is nine months before her birth in September. The Immaculate Conception prepares her to become the mother of the Lord. Scripture tells of the annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel. Mary's assent to be open to God's plan makes our salvation possible.


December 9: Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548) was a poor, simple, indigenous man who was visited by Mary in 1531. She instructed him to build a church at Guadalupe near Mexico City. During another visit, she told him to present flowers to the bishop. When he did, the flowers fell from his cape to reveal an image of Mary that is still revered today.


This Week in Jesuit History


  • December 4, 1870: The Roman College, appropriated by the Piedmontese government, was reopened as a Lyceum. The monogram of the Society over the main entrance was effaced. 
  • December 5, 1584: By his bull Omnipotentis Dei, Pope Gregory XIII gave the title of Primaria to Our Lady's Sodality established in the Roman College in 1564, and empowered it to aggregate other similar sodalities. 
  • December 6, 1618: In Naples, the Jesuits were blamed for proposing to the Viceroy that a solemn feast should be held in honor of the Immaculate Conception and that priests should make a public pledge defend the doctrine. This was regarded as a novelty not to be encouraged. 
  • December 7, 1649: Charles Garnier was martyred in Etarita, Canada, as a missionary to the Petun Indians, among whom he died during an Iroquois attack. 
  • December 8, 1984: Walter Ciszek, prisoner in Russia from 1939 to 1963, died. 
  • December 9, 1741: At Paris, Fr. Charles Poree died. He was a famous master of rhetoric. Nineteen of his pupils were admitted into the French Academy, including Voltaire, who, in spite of his impiety, always felt an affectionate regard for his old master. 
  • December 10, 1548. The general of the Dominicans wrote in defense of the Society of Jesus upon seeing it attacked in Spain by Melchior Cano and others.

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