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Second Sunday of Advent

Engaging Faith | Wed, Dec 5, 2012

By John Bucki, SJ

Second Sunday of Advent (c): December 9, 2012

Second Sunday of Advent (c)
December 9, 2012

Readings
Baruch 5:1-9
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Luke 3:1-6

Calendar
December 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception
December 8: Hanukkah begins at sunset. (Judaism)
December 10: Human Rights Day
December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Quotes

Precisely by the witness of their faith and love, Christians are called to offer a radiant sign of hope and consolation to this world, so marked by conflicts and tensions.
Benedict XVI, 30 November 2006, in Turkey

The coming of the non-violent Jesus into our world is desperately needed. It is time for deeper prayer, reflection and action so that a path can be found in the wilderness and a new vision of peace can be birthed.
~Pax Christi USA

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 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 76

Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity.
~ Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 78

   The church “…has become more aware of the fact that too many people live, not in the prosperity of the Western world, but in the poverty of the developing countries amid conditions which are still "a yoke little better than that of slavery itself," she has felt and continues to feel obliged to denounce this fact with absolute clarity and frankness, …
   In every age the true and perennial "newness of things" comes from the infinite power of God, who says: "Behold, I make all things new" (Rev 21:5). These words refer to the fulfillment of history, when Christ "delivers the Kingdom to God the Father...that God may be everything to everyone" (1 Cor 15:24, 28). But the Christian well knows that the newness which we await in its fullness at the Lord's second coming has been present since the creation of the world, and in a special way since the time when God became man in Jesus Christ and brought about a "new creation" with him and through him (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15).
~ John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 61-62

Thoughts for your consideration

Baruch writes in a time of great difficulty. Jerusalem has been destroyed and the people are in exile. Paul writes out of the challenges of a growing church trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus and to live in community. John the Baptism speaks out of the difficulties of his age and the need for change and reform in Israel.  In facing various difficulties, all three readings are filled with hope. We hear a longing for justice which is filled with excitement and possibility.

It is important that we identify the difficulties that we are facing today so that we can move forward in hope.  What are the difficulties that challenge our desire to have hope?
* War, terrorism, and more preparations and spending for war
* In particular a complex mix of war and violence in Afghanistan, Syria, and the Congo
* A world with millions of refugees from war or economic injustice
* Millions who have been warehoused in “refugee camps” for decades
* The great recession that seems to be deepening in Europe
* Maybe a billion people living on less than a $1.25 per day
* Hundreds of millions of people experiencing hunger
* In particular millions of children, some of whom die each day
* Countless people without good medical care
* Untold children here and abroad are not getting a good education
* Girls who do not get the same opportunities in boys
* Transnational Corporations dominating the world economy
* Corporations which move jobs around wherever they can pay people the least
* Unfair trading rules in our global economy
* Polices which drive ordinary farmers out of business in the developing world.
* Degradation of the environment in so many ways
* Unprecedented rapid global climate change
* A culture of consumerism

After naming those things that threaten our hope, we then ask questions:
* How shall we “prepare the way of the Lord?”
* How shall we make the “rough ways straight?”
* Where are the signs of hope in our world today?

Questions for use in your Faith Sharing Group
* What international issue makes you feel hopeless or discouraged about the world?
* What domestic issue makes you feel hopeless or discouraged about the world?
* Do you see any signs of hope?


Story
Listen to this story of hope from Rwanda:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wYDRyCbD8CQ
Find more stories at: http://storiesforhope.org/


Actions - Links

Human Rights
December 10 is International Human Rights Day. On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). “It is the foundation of international human rights law, the first universal statement on the basic principles of inalienable human rights, and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”  
• To read the Universal Declaration on Human Rights go to http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
• Download the poster versions at: http://www2.ohchr.org/English/events/UDHR60/docs/DECLARATION.pdf
• Get more info about Human Rights Day at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Day2012/Pages/HRD2012.aspx or at http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/. This year’s theme is: My Voice Counts: Inclusion and the right to participate in public life.
• The 16 days of activism campaign, which runs every year from 25 November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – to 10 December – Human Rights Day - calls for the elimination of violence against women and invites everyone to take action against it. http://www.unwomen.org/infocus/16-days-of-activism-against-gender-violence/

Sweatshops
Baruch uses the image of clothing – of “being wrapped in a cloth of justice.”  Much of the clothing that we wear in the US is made outside of our country. It is often made by people (mostly women) who are getting paid low salaries and who work under difficult conditions. Check out http://www.workersrights.org or http://www.globallabourrights.org/ (The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights).


“Crazy Facts”

“If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month.”
Get more info at:
http://grist.org/news/if-youre-27-or-younger-youve-never-experienced-a-c...


Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, help us make room for peace and justice.
For an end to all our wars and preparation for war, we pray….
For an economy that can provide employment at a living wage for all our people, we pray…
For refugees and other displaced people, we pray….
For a global society that respects the human rights of all people, we pray….
For our planet that we may work together with respect for our natural resources, we pray….
For all those who are discouraged by the politics of our world, we pray….
For all who feel left out of the system that governs and controls our world, we pray…
For hope in the midst of difficulty, we pray….

Prayers

Praying for Peace in Advent
http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Advent/peace...

Prayer for Human Rights
http://www.peacejourney.org/prayer-for-human-rights/

Human Rights Prayer
http://praying.kansasbob.com/2009/12/human-rights-prayer.html

Prayer on the Social Concerns of the Church
https://educationforjustice.org/node/1172

Prayer for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
https://educationforjustice.org/node/1568

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