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Lectionary Reflections: First Sunday of Advent [a] December 1, 2013

Engaging Faith | Wed, Nov 27, 2013

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

First Sunday of Advent [a]

December 1, 2013

Copy @ 2013, Center of Concern

 

Readings

Isaiah 2:1-5

Romans 13:11-14

Matthew 24:37-44

 

Calendar

Nov. 27 – Dec. 5: Hanukkah

Dec 1: Advent Season begins

Dec. 1: World AIDS Day

Dec. 2: International Day for the Abolition of Slavery http://www.un.org/en/events/slaveryabolitionday/ 

Dec. 2: Anniversary of the deaths of Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan in El Salvador http://irtfcleveland.org/about/churchwomenbiographies.shtml 

Dec. 3: International Day of Disabled Persons http://www.un.org/en/events/disabilitiesday/ 

 

Quotes

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks;

one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”

- Isaiah 2:4

 

“Justice, right reason, and the recognition of man’s dignity cry out insistently for a cessation to the arms race.… Human beings nowadays are becoming more and more convinced that any disputes which may arise between nations must be resolved by negotiation and agreement, and not by recourse to arms.… We are hopeful that, by establishing contact with one another and by a policy of negotiation, nations will come to a better recognition of the natural ties that bind them together as human beings.”

- Pope John XXIII, “Pacem in Terris,” 112,126,128

 

“The arms race is a threat to our highest good, which is life; it makes poor peoples and individuals yet more miserable, while making richer those already powerful; it creates a continuous danger of conflagration, and in the case of nuclear arms, it threatens to destroy all life from the face of the earth.”

- 1971 Bishops Synod, “Justice in the World”

 

“It is absolutely necessary that international conflicts should not be settled by war, but that other methods better befitting human nature should be found. Let a strategy of non-violence be fostered.”

- 1971 Bishops Synod, “Justice in the World”

 

“Hope in the coming kingdom is already beginning to take root in the hearts of people. The radical transformation of the world in the Paschal Mystery of the Lord gives full meaning to the efforts of people, and in particular of the young, to lessen injustice, violence and hatred and to advance all together in justice, freedom, kinship and love.”

- 1971 Bishops Synod, “Justice in the World”

 

“The only war that we must all fight is the one against evil.”

- Pope Francis, Sept. 10, 2013

 

Thoughts for your consideration

Advent is a season to open our eyes and see, to see those who struggle or suffer, to see the injustice around us, to see the challenges in our world.   

Advent is also a season of hope.  Isaiah calls us to be prepared for something great – something extraordinary.  Isaiah prophesizes that people will gather from disparate nations for something revolutionary and exciting. “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”  Peace and nonviolence will reign.  

Today, war and violence continue in our world.  

  • The war in Afghanistan continues after so many years.
  • Many other active wars continue in places Syria or the Congo and other places in Africa.
  • Billions of dollars are spent every year to prepare for war.
  • Various kinds of violence continue in cities and rural areas alike.
  • Millions experience domestic violence of various types.
  • In our world, 30 million people experience slavery.
  • In the United States, 60 million people own a combined arsenal of more than 200 million firearms.
  • So many basic human needs are still not being met.

To prophesy an end to war and terrorism is an extraordinary thing. To prophesy a time when people will come together in peace is most unusual for so many things divide us.  Our world is filled with competition and extraordinary striving to have more or to control more. People and nations resort to violence or the threat of violence.

We may be tempted to say that this revolution of peace cannot happen; that the disparate, competitive people of the world cannot work and live together; that war can never end; that people can never live in peace with each other; that economic and social justice will never happen.  However, the gospel tells us to “stay awake” and “be prepared.” God will come at any time. We just have to be ready. Don’t miss it. This coming will be a source of light and hope. “Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

 

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When have you experienced something great that was both unexpected and extraordinary?

++++

When have you experienced loving nonviolent action in the midst of conflict?

 

Story   

The Mouse and the Light

http://www.mideastweb.org/mouselight.htm

 

Actions - Links

December 1 is World AIDS Day.  

For more information go to http://www.avert.org/worldaid.htm  or http://www.worldaidsday.org

 

December 2 is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 

For information, go to: 

http://www.notforsalecampaign.org

 

For information about the Campaign to End Slavery in our Lifetime go to:

http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/Default.aspx 

 

Urge your congressional representatives to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act

http://www.capwiz.com/womenthrive/issues/alert/?alertid=63007021&type=CO

 

 

“Crazy Facts”

According to the Campaign to End Slavery in our Lifetime, 30 million people are enslaved today.

http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/Default.aspx  

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world. Combating this $32 billion-dollar-a-year industry takes enormous effort as well as a large framework of diligent abolitionists. Slavery is wrapped up in almost every industry’s supply chain, tainting the food we eat, the clothes we buy and the electronics we love. http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/about/slavery/  

2.5 million people continue to be infected with HIV each year, with 2,400 young people newly infected every day. 

http://www.avert.org/world-aids-day.htm

 

Prayers of Intercession

Response: May we beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.

For an end to war, we pray….

For an end to all the preparations for war, we pray….

For an end to terrorism, we pray…..

For an end to domestic violence, we pray.

For an end to end to all slavery and oppression today, we pray….

For the beginning of a new era of peace and reconciliation, we pray….

For the beginning of a new commitment to address human needs, we pray….

For a new and genuine commitment to the common good, we pray….

 

 

Prayer - Meditation

Below is a very partial list of places that have suffered from war and military violence over the last 60 years.  Use the list to focus your prayers for peace. 

El Salvador

Guatemala

Mexico (Chiapas)

Panama

Nicaragua

Colombia

Argentina

Peru

Chili

Falkland Islands

Grenada

Haiti

Cuba

Bosnia

Kosovo

Serbia

Cyprus

Israel

Lebanon

Palestine

Algeria

Sudan

South Sudan

Somalia

Ethiopia

Eritrea

Liberia

Sierra Leone

Congo

Rwanda

Burundi

South Africa

Mozambique

Angola

Nigeria

Iran

Iraq

Kuwait

Pakistan

India

Kashmir

Cambodia

Laos

Korea

Vietnam

Indonesia

East Timor

Fiji

Tibet

Chechnya

Georgia

Russia

Korea

United States

Northern Ireland

Afghanistan

Ivory Coast

Sri Lanka

Nepal

Honduras

Syria

Mali

Egypt

Chad

Kenya

Central African Republic

Burma / Myanmar

 

Forgive us, O God, all the wars we have forgotten, all the preparations for more wars, all the violence within our nations and homes and families and neighborhoods.

Lead us into active non-violence.  Amen.

 

IMAGE

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2011/12/01/world-aids-day-2011/

http://blog.lass.org.uk/2012/11/