Second Sunday of Advent

Baruch 5:1-9;      Philippians 1:4-6. 8-11;     Luke 3:1-6

This Tuesday, December 8, 2015 begins a very special year:   A Jubilee Year of Mercy, from this Tuesday, December 8, 2015 thru The Feast of Christ the King at the end of November 2016.   A Year that Pope asks all of us to participate in.

The date chosen to begin this Year of Mercy, Tuesday, December 8, 2015, is a significant date in the life of the church:

+ December 8 is the Feast of Immaculate Conception of Mary.  Mary the Mother of God;  Mary the model of discipleship for all.

+ December 8 also marks the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council that began in 1965.

Pope Francis in speaking about this Jubilee Year of Mercy shared, “I ask everyone to celebrate the Year of Mercy by showing to others the Mercy of God constantly at work in all of us.”

The Pope is asking us to use the year ahead to “become more and more a conduit of God’s mercy in everything we say and do.”

Last weekend at the 10:30 am Mass, I suggested that we “look for Jesus” in the people we would be coming into contact during the week.  One couple shared with me:

We have made special efforts to see Jesus in everyone around us this week in the midst of the holiday preparation hubbub.  We discussed with each other the challenge that this presented at times and we admit that it was not always easy.  Nevertheless we feel it was a very worthwhile Advent exercise and one we will try to continue.

They continued by sharing:

On the lighter side of this, we found ourselves tied up in a couple major traffic jams which led us to conclude that “Jesus is not always a very good driver!”

My response to this was, Jesus still has a Learner’s Permit.

Well as our Advent continues, as we begin this year of Mercy, I would share with you three areas where we might seriously think about “Mercy” becoming more evident in our Lives:

  1. Listen to God’s Word.  In today’s readings what is God sharing and asking of us?

+ Baruch, the Prophet in reading one shares, “God is leading us to joy.”  Do we see, do we experience, are we open to all the good that God has and is leading us to?

+ Paul, in the Second reading, “prays that our love will increase.”  How is our love increasing for God, for others?

+ Luke, our Gospel Writer, reminds us “make straight the road.”  What efforts do we make, can we make to assist others, in need, in distress, here and now ?

  1. Recognize the need for Mercy.  We do not have to look far to see human misery.  How will we heal wounds; knock down the walls between us; restore human dignity?
  1. Do not judge or condemn.  As the pope often reminds us, “no one can look into another’s soul, we only see what happens on the surface.”  Refraining from judging and condemnation is an Act of Mercy because it allows us to accept the good in every person and spare that person suffering caused by our negative attitude.

This Advent – This Jubilee of Mercy:  God who began this good work in us; May He bring it to completion.   (Amen.)