LITURGY

Second Sunday of Advent Year A

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WORD FOR TODAY
Advent is a time for putting things right if we are to welcome Jesus into our midst. Isaiah paints a picture of a world that can be free from conflict; St Paul urges us to be united in mind and voice; and John the Baptist tells us to smooth out our lives. The message couldn’t be plainer.

WORDS FOR WORSHIP
Our God comes to visit and save us. Let us turn to him and ask that he establish his kingdom among us this Advent as we turn to him in prayer, bringing our own needs, the longings of the human race and the cries of the poor and forgotten...

WORD OF GOD
The wolf lives with the lamb;
the panther lies down with the kid,
calf and lion cub feed together
with a little boy to lead them.
(Isaiah 11:6)

FAITH IN FOCUS: DOES IT BITE?
A pet-shop owner was explaining recently that small children have no fear whatsoever of snakes, lizards or any other reptiles. Fear is something they learn from adults. Parents are regularly heard, he said, telling their small children to come away from “that horrible thing” and look at the puppies instead.
Advent is a time when we learn the lesson of the pet-shop. We are given a vision of what God intended the world to be and we are reminded that it is up to us to co-operate with God’s grace to share in his work of building up once more a kingdom in which lions and calves, wolves and lambs have no fear of each other.
When the bible comes to explain this phenomenon it points to the early days when the created world was at harmony, to the days of paradise when men and women enjoyed fully the life that God had created them for. It was our own greed and disobedience of God that caused us to become creators, but creators of sin, conflict, division and misery. We were born into such a world, but we have all co-operated in keeping it far from perfect by the way we behave.
So Advent invites us to act and to change things. John the Baptist plunged into the Jordan those who wanted to change themselves and to transform the world. He preached a baptism for those who were ready to repent, to smooth out the rocky paths of their lives and prepare for the coming of the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
That’s why Advent is about waiting for the coming of our redeemer, but not about waiting idly as if for a bus to come. It’s a time when at our liturgy we celebrate the mystery of God’s coming among us to show us how to live and be fulfilled, how to create a world where fear and hatred, sin and division have no permanent hold.
When we gather together to hear God’s word and to share the food of life at the table of the Lord, we ask that the Holy Spirit may embolden us to take practical steps towards repentance and reconciliation.
Advent not only teaches us that life can be better; it gives us the means to make it so.

 

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