Week of December 4, 2016

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I hope many of you will be able to come back this Sunday (December 4th) at 7:00 p.m. to hear Bishop Johnston’s presentation for Advent.  It is a way to prepare ourselves during this Advent season and an opportunity to get to know our bishop a little better.

Reconciliation Services in the Lee’s Summit parishes are happening soon.  Another good way to prepare ourselves.

  • Monday, Dec. 5th, at St. Margaret Parish
  • Sunday, Dec. 11th, at Presentation Parish
  • Wednesday, Dec. 14th, at Holy Spirit Parish

These services begin at 7:00 p.m.

The following is excerpts from a reflection by Sr. Mary M. McGlone, in Celebration.

Just 21 days left until Christmas! PREPARE!

John the Baptist warning that it’s time to change our behavior may sound a bit like “You’d better watch out, you’d better not pout…” but the reward he promises for conversion is not at all like the tinseled trees surrounded by toys and electronics.

John proclaims his message most directly to the overtly religious types who show up on his riverbank.  Lest the crowds think that his is simply another religious show like the sacrifices that fattened the priests and their purses.  John calls out the leaders with the demand that they produce something worthwhile and not count on their baptismal certificate or Abrahamic lineage to give them an “admit one free” pass on the work of salvation.  John’s preaching echoes Isaiah (our first reading today).

Isaiah announces the coming savior.  The one to come will be an ideal leader, someone whose profound love and reverence for God will be supplemented by gifts of insight and the ability to enforce justice.  The proof of this leader’s absolute impartiality will be that the poor and afflicted are treated with genuine justice.

If we really want to appreciate Isaiah’s promises, we need to step out of our own comfortable loafers and imagine walking in the worn out sandals of people who have nothing but hope.  In order to glimpse the faces and feet of some of our neediest sisters and brothers we need only look at our newspaper, google “Syrian refugees,” or go to the website of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and look up Sudan at www.unhcr.org.  Seeing them, we can try to listen with their ears to Isaiah’s words about the one who will bring justice.  It is for such as theses that the promised Messiah was to come.  The question we must ask is whether we can share their hopes for the coming of God’s justice.  If we can, we’ll receive their reward with them.

We might say that Advent invites us to consider God’s wish list with as much attention as we put into finding the right presents for others.  Isaiah says that God wants us to yearn for and accept the Spirit who offers the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength and fear of the Lord.  Those are the capacities needed to create the community Paul envisions (second reading), a community that attracts others to know and glorify God.  The Baptizer then calls us to take all of those lofty ideals and make them as concrete as the fruits of the trees to which the world looks for nourishment.

John the Baptist tells us the time is always short for those in need.  God is waiting on our roads, disguised in the people who have nothing left but hope.  We’d better watch out!

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