Second Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13, 2 Peter 3:8-15a 

Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

Second Sunday of Advent reflection by Sr. Sheila Brosnan

The second week of Advent sets us definitively on the path to the celebration of God’s love for us in the birth of Christ our Savior. The feast of Christmas is one of light, enjoying the excitement and the wonder of children and reliving the ethnic and cultural traditions of the past.

The Feast of Christmas may stir positive memories or perhaps the recollection of painful associations. The deep, integrating message of Christmas is that with God, TIME IS LOVE! We are beloved and God loves us consistently, at every phase of our lives. In God, “One day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day.”

Let us live in the joy and peace of everlasting love. May we not delay in our efforts to notice and respond to our brothers and sisters who are deprived and who are in need of our love and support.

It is significant to note that the word Advent is a derivation of the Latin, meaning to go forward.

Advent is a time of both waiting and hurrying as we move towards the celebration of the birth of Christ our Savior.

As some of us have experienced, a newborn child is a marvel of creation that is fragile, needy and defendant.

In what way do we find ourselves dependent?

From our earliest years we needed the essentials, food, clothing and shelter.

Many people recognize the lifetime advantage of having grown up in a loving, nurturing environment.
We can only imagine those children in our world who cannot depend on others to fill in the valleys of deprivation so that the glory of God might be revealed in the fulness of love.

We have all experienced neediness. Can we live even one day without feeling hunger, the desire for greater love, stronger friendships and consistent personal affirmation?

In some ways we all live in the shadow of deprivation. We are distressed at the inhuman circumstances that continue to exist in the lives of so many children and adults throughout our world.

At Christmas, we are very aware of the scriptural image of the Holy Family as migrants, without welcome or accommodations.

After rigorous travel through desert and mountainous terrain they are fatigued, hungry and fearful that along the way pangs of birth might overcome Mary.

Our compassion for those in our world who have no food and no resources is stirred by reflecting on the story of the incarnation; a story of homelessness and need and saving grace.

Scripture tells us repeatedly that God is tender, compassionate, and completely forgiving,

How often have we disregarded people who are suffering mental and physical illness?

Perhaps there are times when we ignore God’s desire for kindness, truth, justice and peace.

We are beginning to notice new ways of caring for all creation. Our hope is that, “Justice will look down from heaven. Justice will run before us.”

During the second week of Advent there are two significant feasts; Our Lady of Guadeloupe and St. Lucy.

According to legend, the Virgin appeared to a young poor boy named Diego, an Aztec peasant in Mexico. Significantly the Virgin was dark skinned, pregnant and wearing a mantle decorated with stars.

The young boy was directed to go to the Bishop and request that a church be built as the location of the apparition. The Bishop asked for a sign. The boy returned with an abundance of roses. Roses are never seen in Mexico in the month of December. The Bishop had his sign.

We rejoice in the fidelity and courage of this youth who experienced poverty, who was reticent with language limitations.

Saint Lucy from the first century is the patron saint of healthy eyesight and especially insight, that again is the gift of “seeing” in a new way. People who are blind, who have vision problems, or those who anticipate losing sight, may gift us with extraordinary insight.

And in conclusion;

May the birth of Christ in our lives sustain our hope, nurture our desire for love and give us greater zeal in our efforts to eliminate poverty, welcome the homeless and make kindness our new way on the journey.

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