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2nd Advent B

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Dear sisters and brothers,

Let us welcome Christ by renouncing our sinful ways.

Fr. Cielo

Published in: Spiritual
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2nd Advent B

  1. 1. Welcome to our Bible Study 2nd Sunday of Advent B 7 December 2014 In preparation for the Sunday Readings In aid of focusing our homilies and sharing Prepared by Fr. Cielo R. Almazan, OFM
  2. 2. 1st Reading: Isaiah 40,1-5.9-11 • 1 Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated. Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. • 3 A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! 4 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low. The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. 5 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. • 9 Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings. Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! 10 Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm. Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. 11 Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs. Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care. The focus is on preparing the WAY OF THE LORD.”
  3. 3. 1st Reading: Isaiah 40,1-5.9-11 • 1 Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. • 3 A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! 4 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. 5 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Commentary • Vv.1-2ab ask the prophet Isaiah to comfort the people Israel in Exile. • The rest of v.2 talks of the reasons why they should be comforted: – Their sufferings, as punishment for their sins, are about to end. – They have suffered more than enough. They have served their sentence. (v.2) • Vv.3-4 announce the coming of the Lord, who will put an end to their sufferings. • Therefore, they must prepare, pave the way for the coming of the Lord (valley be filled up, mountain made low…). • They must facilitate his coming. • V.5 gives the reason for the Lord’s coming. – To reveal his glory
  4. 4. 1st Reading: Isaiah 40,1-5.9-11 • 9 Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings. Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! 10 Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm. Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. 11 Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care. • V.9 commands Zion // Jerusalem (herald of glad tidings // good news) to proclaim the presence of God in their midst. • V.10 describes God’s coming: – With power – Rules by strong arm – Brings reward // recompense • V.11 describes God’s purpose in coming: – To feed his flock – To gather the lambs, carries in his bosom (intimacy) – To lead the ewes with care
  5. 5. Short Background of the 1st Reading • The reading comes from the first part of the second book of Isaiah. • Just for your information or reminder: The Book of Isaiah has three parts, namely – Proto-Isaiah: chs. 1-39 – Deutero-Isaiah: chs. 40-55 – Trito-Isaiah chs. 56-66 • Deut-Is is dubbed as the Book of Consolation. • The Israelites have been in exile for many years. Nebuchadnezzar brought them to Babylon, destroying their institutions in Judah, the priesthood, kingship, etc., threatening their identity and religion. (587 BC) • Now the prophet in exile, taking the spirit and style of Isaiah of Jerusalem 200 years earlier, announces the end of the exile. • The end of the exile means the restoration of their legitimate institutions (worship in the Temple, being ruled by a good king). The author sees the end of the exile as the beginning of God’s rule over Israel / Judah. (539 BC)
  6. 6. Reflections on the first reading • Our experience is also written in the experience of the Israelites in exile. • We, too, experience being defeated by our “enemies.” We are also “exiled” – cast aside, taken for granted, rejected, stripped of our rights, forced to leave our homes, given unwanted assignments and thrown into unfamiliar situations. • We feel we are being punished. • The experience of exile may be as a result of our own doing. – We violated some laws or betrayed our friends. – We were not mindful of our obligations to God and to our community. – We did not exercise self-control. • The Season of Advent is to celebrate God’s coming to restore us.
  7. 7. Resp. Ps 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14 • R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation. • 9 I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD for he proclaims peace to his people. 10 Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land. • 11 Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. 12 Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven. • 13 The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. 14 Justice shall walk before him, and prepare the way of his steps.
  8. 8. Resp. Ps 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14 • R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation. • 9 I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD for he proclaims peace to his people. 10 Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land. • 11 Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. 12 Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven. • 13 The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. 14 Justice shall walk before him, and prepare the way of his steps. Commentary • In v.9, the psalmist expresses his love for what God proclaims, which is peace. • Along with peace is salvation for the God-fearers. V.10 • In vv.11-12, kindness, truth, peace, and justice will pervade upon the earth. • V.13 expresses God’s sense of justice to mankind: he will make the land increase its produce. • V.14 describes how the Lord will come. – Justice prepares for his coming.
  9. 9. Reflections on the Psalm • Like the psalmist, let us believe that when God comes, he will bring kindness and salvation. • God is he who saves and gives justice. • His peace leads us to abundance of food. • Our physical and spiritual well-being indicates that God has come to us.
  10. 10. 2nd Reading: 2 Peter 3,8-14 • 8 Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard "delay," but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out. 11 Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought (you) to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. 13 But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. The focus is on the coming “day of the Lord.”
  11. 11. 2nd Reading: 2 Peter 3,8-14 • 8 Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard "delay," but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out. 11 Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought (you) to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. 13 But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. Commentary • V.8 God reckons time differently from us. – For God: 1 day = 1000 years and vice versa. • V.9 The seeming delay is a time for us to make up our minds (to change ourselves). God does not intend to lose anyone. • V.10 The Day of the Lord is sudden and dissolves everything. • Vv.11-12 Christians living in holiness and devotion will not be affected. • Vv.13-14 They, who await for his coming and have no sin, will be in the “new heavens and new earth.”
  12. 12. Reflections on the 2nd reading • The reading invites the listeners to live without blame, in preparation for the day of the Lord. • There is no other way to prepare for the “new heavens and the new earth” than to live without fault. • Living without fault is not an accident. • The Christian can do it if he mindfully listens to the prodding of God and to his warnings written in the scriptures. • Each day, each minute is a chance for us to change and to reform. One must take advantage of this “amnesty” now, for afterwards, there will be no more second chances. • Don’t wait for the last minute. There is no such thing as the last minute, or last 2 seconds, for Jesus will suddenly come.
  13. 13. Gospel reading: Mark 1,1-8 • 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ (the Son of God). 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: "Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. 3 A voice of one crying out in the desert: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'" 4 John (the) Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. 6 John was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. 7 And this is what he proclaimed: "One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit."
  14. 14. Gospel Reading: Mark 1,1-8 • 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ (the Son of God). 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: "Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. 3 A voice of one crying out in the desert: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'" 4 John (the) Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Commentary • V.1 announces what is to be read: a gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God. The gospel of Mark is the first literary type of its kind. • Vv.2 -3 pick up the message of the first reading and Malachi 3,1. • V.4 Mark interprets the voice in the desert as John the Baptist. Mark interprets the message - “prepare the way” as baptism of repentance.
  15. 15. Gospel Reading: Mark 1,1-8 • 5 People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. 6 John was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. 7 And this is what he proclaimed: "One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit." • V. 5 describes the overwhelming response of the people in the barrios of Judaea and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. • They allowed themselves to be baptised as they acknowledged their sins. • V. 6 describes the simple attire and food of John. • Vv.7-8 express John’s humility (feeling of unworthiness) and the greatness of the one yet to come.
  16. 16. Further observations • The very first line is very important in the interpretation of the whole gospel of Mark. • “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” • This introduction announces that the gospel is a story of an extraordinary person. – He is not just an ordinary person of Nazareth, but identified as Christ (Messiah), the Son of God, with a special mission. • All the readers and listeners of the gospel must, therefore, take the story seriously. • Jesus does not appear right away in the gospel. John the Baptist comes first. • His mission is to prepare the people for the appearance of Jesus as the prophets had foretold.
  17. 17. Further observations • The preparation is that of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Repentance is demonstrated by undergoing a ritual of baptism. • People of the countryside and Jerusalem heeded the call of John the Baptist. • John the Baptist is conscious of his role in the coming of Jesus. He is just there to prepare. He is aware Jesus is greater than he.
  18. 18. Reflections on the gospel reading • The call of repentance is loud and clear in the gospel reading. • Repentance is the way to prepare to meet Jesus Christ when he comes to begin his ministry. • The reading suggests that without repentance we cannot follow the teachings of Jesus. • What is repentance? – To await for the coming of Jesus to teach us. We have been influenced by other people and by the world, absorbing their values. • With the coming of Jesus, we need to stand prepared for the new teachings of the new teacher, the Christ, and adopt his values. • Jesus brings good news: salvation.
  19. 19. Tying the three readings and the Psalm • We must prepare for the “way of the Lord” (1st reading). – The Lord who comes is totally different from the worldly lords. – He will restore his people, free them from sufferings and evil rule. • The psalm gives the purpose of God’s coming (salvation). • Prepare the “way of the Lord.” (gospel reading), through repentance (change of teachers, change of value system). • When the Lord comes, we must be prepared (be found blameless in his sight) (2nd reading). Take note of the order of the readings: 1st reading – gospel – 2nd reading. It is much better if you follow this historical order as you develop your homily. The first reading and the gospel talk about the 1st coming of Jesus, the second reading about the 2nd coming of Jesus.
  20. 20. How to develop our homily / sharing • We should focus on the word “preparation” as we are in the season of Advent. • To understand the word “preparation” better, we should be able to answer the following questions: • What are we preparing for? – We are preparing for the coming of Jesus. • Who is this person / Lord who deserves our preparation? – He is the Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, sent to redeem us.
  21. 21. • What kind of preparation should we make according to the readings? – Preparation for the coming of the Lord is none other than repentance from sinful living.
  22. 22. • The first reading tells us that we should facilitate the coming of the Lord. (Make straight his paths…) • We pave the way to make his coming to our hearts easier, through conversion. • We don’t harden our hearts. • We must acknowledge our woundedness, our poverty, our experiences of sin and rejection. • We pray for his coming to change and improve our life.
  23. 23. • The gospel reading tells us that the best way to welcome Jesus is through personal conversion (metanoia) and cleansing. • As Catholics, we interpret this as receiving the sacrament of confession and promising God to do better.
  24. 24. • The gospel teaches us that we give up self-rule (living independently from God, living according to the values of this world) and that we allow ourselves to be ruled by Jesus. • We adopt Jesus as our teacher, whose teachings lead us to salvation.
  25. 25. • The second reading teaches us that the second coming of Jesus Christ is sudden. • The conversion that is asked of us is living blamelessly in the Lord, day after day. • We make sure that at any time of the day we are disposed to meet Jesus. • We can now begin living as if we were in the “new heaven and new earth.” • We should not delay our conversion.
  26. 26. • The eucharist is for those who are converted. • When we receive the eucharist, we are telling the Lord and the congregation – that we have submitted ourselves to God and – that we are ready to meet the Lord on Christmas, today, and at the end of time. • Our prayerful and active participation in the holy eucharist is itself our preparation for his coming. • In the eucharist, Jesus assures us of our salvation.
  27. 27. Our Context of Sin and Grace • Living as if nobody is coming. • Self-righteous • No spiritual values • Misguided Preparations (more on externals) • No conversion (can’t follow Christ) • Conversion • Cleansing from sin and evil • Keen to the voice of the prophet • Sees connection between listening to the Word of God / receiving Holy Communion and the coming of the Lord.
  28. 28. Suggested Songs • Make Straight the Path – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWlq2ouoEMg • Prepare Ye • Halina, Hesus, Halina • O Come O Come Emmanuel

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