13 Dec
2nd Week of Advent
Is. 41:13-20
Ps. 145:1, 9-13
Mt. 11:11-15
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Today's Gospel reading is challenging us to listen attentively to Jesus' teachings particularly those that pertain to Himself (Mt. 11:2-6) and John the Baptist (Mt. 11:7-15).

The emphasis is on John the Baptist as the fore-runner of Jesus, who brought the message of the Covenant and, as a herald of God, is greater than all human beings. Yet Jesus Himself is superior to John. Jesus Himself or, in today's context, all followers of Jesus who belong to the new dispensation of the Kingdom, are more privileged than John the Baptist.

The 'violence' that is mentioned by Jesus in verse 12 refers to that of the opponents who are constantly trying to prevent the coming of the Kingdom and snatch it away from those who welcome it (Mt. 23:13). If we, as followers of Christ, choose to be silent in situations of injustice and violence, we will remain as cowards and will fail to be prophetic witnesses. Like John the Baptist, we need not be fearful but cling to the protective love of God which is so well described in the first reading by the Prophet Isaiah. In this beautiful, exquisite and most comforting song, God is revealed to us as the One who does not just answer our prayers with words but with actions of wondrous magnitude. Indeed, God's redemptive love brings a new creation. So, let us hold on to this security - God's excessive love for us.

Lord, let Your love empower us to be prophetic witnesses in our times.

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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