9 Dec
2nd Sunday of Advent (A)
Is. 11:1-10
Ps. 71:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
Rom 15:4-9
Mt 3:1-12
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John the Baptist, whom we have not heard of since his birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth, now appears in the desert near the Jordan River. A summary of his message is given. It will be repeated by Jesus himself at the beginning of His public life. It is a call for people to make a radical change in their lives for the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus will add that the coming of that Kingdom into our lives consists in our committing ourselves totally to the message that Jesus will bring.

In the meantime, John is the voice that announces the coming of Jesus as our Saviour and King. He leads a life of great austerity which gives him the right to tell people how they are to prepare. He gives a warning especially to those whose lives are far from the spirit of the One whose coming he foretells. He speaks with equal force to the religious leaders, Pharisees and Sadducees, as he does to ordinary people. He calls on all to leave behind their sinful ways, their pride, their arrogance, their greed. It is time for each one to bear fruit, the fruit of truth and love and good works. Then they will be ready to receive the One, who is so great that John is not worthy even to untie his sandals. This Advent period is also a time for us to look into our lives and to see how ready we are to welcome Jesus into our hearts.

Lord, open our hearts in welcome and remove those things which hinder us from welcoming you with joy.

Eternal Father, I offer You everything I do this day; my thoughts, words, joys and sufferings. Grant that, vivified by the Holy Spirit and united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my life this day may be of service to You and to others. I also pray that all those preparing for marriage discover in Sacrament the source of Christ's grace for living a fithful and fruitful love. Amen.

That Christians may free themselves from the subtle forms of cultural conditioning which prevent them from recognising the dignity and rights of others

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P R A Y I N G    W I T H    T H E    C H U R C H    

INTENTION : That Christians may free themselves from the subtle forms of cultural conditioning which prevent them from recognising the dignity and rights of others

Our vocation and mission as Christians is to bring the light of Christ to the world in order to preserve the world from corruption by permeating it with the values of the Gospel. We need, ourselves, first and foremost to be enlightened by Christ. We do not generate light, we only refract, reflect and radiate. It is His light that we must cast on the world. The more transparent our lives are with the values of the Gospel, the better is the light of Christ reflected and the less we are seen.

The world in which we live is mixed with wheat and weeds. There is good and evil. Consumerism is but the logical sequence of a materialistic way of life. Spiritual values are forgotten. Our wants are made to appear as our needs and we are forced to get so immersed in the joys of this world as to forget the joys of the world to come. We are admonished to be aware lest we be trapped by these and other forms of cultural conditioning that mark this world.

Awareness is the first step to change. We pray that this awareness may help us to be delivered from the cultural conditioning that hinders and hampers our vision and prevents us from recognising the dignity and the rights of others.

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