WITH ST. MARY'S
THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Be prepared to share Christ with the world.
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Advent is a time when we should be focusing on going to the Lord, asking for forgiveness for our sins, and preparing for his coming. As followers of Christ, though, we have the unique understanding that the concepts of our faith that matter most, such as the mentality of Advent, can be lived out and experienced through physical, tangible things. From the simple fact that the intangible God made Himself tangible through the human person of Jesus Christ to the fact that the same Christ remained with his followers in a physical way through the Eucharist, we can see just how important the material world can be to our understanding of the faith. In the same way, God deemed it fitting that the nature of Advent (preparing for Christ) be personified in a real, human person - Saint John the Baptist.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
On this second Sunday in Advent, the readings walk us through the way in which God opened Himself up to be accepted by humanity. First, He set apart Israel as His chosen people, to be the recipients of His presence in order to leave an indelible mark on humanity through a human community. It was through this chosen nation that God sent His Son into the world as a descendant of David and as the “shoot sprouting from the stump of Jesse." But Christ came into this world to call upon all nations to be his chosen people should they accept, as we hear in Paul’s letter to the Romans in the second reading. We knew this would happen. We knew Christ would come into the world and sanctify the world through those who answered the call. We heard this message from all of the prophets in Old Testament time. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we are introduced to the last and the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist. Like all prophets, John came with a message of warning to the people of Israel - that the coming of the Son of God was soon at hand, and therefore preparation and repentance were crucial before then. But John had the unique role of both preparing the way of the Lord, as prophesied 700 years earlier by Isaiah, and by introducing the world to Christ’s public ministry. It was not until Christ was baptized by John that he began to preach the Gospel message; therefore, if we are to consider John the Baptist as the personification of the season of Advent and the act of preparing ourselves for the coming of the Lord, we ought to learn from John exactly what the real meaning of Advent is: we know Christ, we acknowledge Christ and his true identity, and we send the message of Christ out into the world. Advent is preparation for Christ’s coming. Christ is here. We are the instruments that God chooses to use to reveal the presence of Christ to the world. Christ walked among the crowds long before John baptized him, but it was only after this baptism that Christ made his presence known. In the spirit of Advent, we ought to be like John, preaching a message of repentance and preparation, then sharing Christ to the world.
Family activity to do at home: Throughout the season of Advent, families should maintain their own Advent wreath in their homes so that the focus of the season may be properly oriented to preparing for the coming of Christ. It's an exciting thing, especially for children, because it enables them to count down the days until Christmas in a truly holy manner. The lessons attached to the lighting of the Advent candles on the wreath can also be an opportunity for families to remain in this mindset of preparation. Throughout the season of Advent, follow these family activities so that you can know how to maintain the prayers involved in the Advent wreath with your family. For this second week of Advent, follow the prayers below as you light the second candle of your family Advent wreath.