Week of December 10, 2017

A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Is. 40:3

How do we prepare the way of the Lord?  Coming to repentance is one way our second reading from 2 Peter says we can prepare.  God is patient with us and that is his wish.  The Greek word used for repentance is metanoia, coming from meta which means “beyond” and nous which refers “to the mind.”  Thus, metanoia can be seen as a call to go beyond our typical or “normal” mindset.  It speaks of a change to our vision of life that will bring about a transformation of the way we live.

The Gospel tells us that people were coming to John the Baptist and acknowledging their sins.  This confession of sin was a communal and enthusiastic public demonstration in which groups of people got excited about the idea that life could be much better than it was.  Their confession said, “We’ve settled for less, but no more!”

The corollary to that confession, what brought it about and what it was intended to lead to, was a dream about how things could be.  Isaiah offered people a vision of a world without the divisions and barriers symbolized by valleys and mountains.  Everything that plagued people, families and nations would be smoothed out.  All peoples would learn that the power of God is the power of love, that God enters history not as a warrior but like a shepherd.

Tuesday, December 12, is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  This feast brings the Gospel message uniquely home to the Americas.  Just as the word took flesh in the first century, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a visible image of Christianity’s ability to express itself in the signs and symbols, the language and culture of every people on earth.

Isaiah and Our Lady of Guadalupe give us a vision of what life can be like.  We are created with the potential to share divine life, to share the joy of being part of a humanity at peace, smoothing out what divides us and rejoicing in the multiple ways our different cultures can incarnate the love of God.  We will never make it happen if we don’t first imagine it.  The call to repent is a call to let go of our puny expectations.  The promise of forgiveness tells us that God will never condemn us to remain trapped in the selfishness we have chosen.  There is always more possibility.

Are we ready to prepare the way of the Lord?  (Taken from Celebration, Sr. Mary McGlone)

Besides being the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, is also the time we are celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Our service will start at 7:00 p.m.  Seven priests will help us celebrate God’s mercy and forgiveness.

People have been asking me for clarification regarding masses on December 24.  The mass in the morning is for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.  Remember we will only have one mass in the morning and it will be at 9:30. The mass on Saturday, December 23, will also be for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.  The masses in the afternoon on December 24 are Christmas masses.

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