Engaging Faith | Fri, Nov 26, 2010
Second Sunday of Advent [a]
December 5, 2010
December 1: Chanukkah (Jewish) begins at sunset.
December 6: St. Nicolas Day
December 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
December 10: Human Rights Day (the anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948)
December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas
"The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope."
–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
The more insurmountable the difficulties and obscure the prospects, the more insistent must our prayer be, to beg of God the gift of mutual understanding, harmony and peace.
John Paul II, ANGELUS MESSAGE, Sunday, 18 November 2001
Christian love of neighbor and justice cannot be separated. For love implies an absolute demand for justice, namely recognition of the dignity and rights of one's neighbor.
1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World
The conditions of extreme poverty afflicting many millions of people are a cause of grave concern to the international community. The Church, committed to a "preferential option for the poor", naturally shares in that concern and strongly supports the Millennium goal of halving the number of people living in poverty by the year 2015. … Much work has already been done to reduce the burden of debt afflicting poor countries, but more is needed if developing nations are to escape from the crippling effects of underinvestment and if developed countries are to fulfill their duty of solidarity with their less fortunate brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.
Pope John Paul II, 5 July 2004
Traditionally Advent is a time of waiting. In a flurry focused on family and friends, we wait for Christmas to unwrap our gifts and wrap our lives with meaning. In our churches and in our spiritual lives, we wait for Christ to come again to fulfill the hopes that remain unfulfilled from that initial coming. Spiritually, we are waiting. Well, it seems to me, as I look around, that we have waited long enough. … It is our responsibility to attend to all that was left undone by the One who was sent to prepare a way of justice and compassion. We, as disciples of Jesus, are not only his followers. We are leaders charged with a mission, believers filled with his spirit, messengers sent, as he was sent, to do the will of God.
Miriam Therese Winter
Thoughts for your consideration
In today’s advent scriptures, we hear messages of both hope and challenge.
Our Christian hope is not a “superficial” hope – “don’t worry, all will be well.”
Our hope is not only about individual feelings – “your personal problems will come to an end.”
Rather our hope involves a radical transformation of the whole community and the way we live with each other. Our hope is based in an invitation from God to enter into a new life and not be stuck in what fails to give life.
Thus John the Baptist talks of a repentance that will produce fruit – that will burn up the chaff and result in something new and life-giving.
Thus Isaiah talks of a new spirit that will bring wisdom, understanding, and justice. He talks of a healing of relationships between people and nations.
Thus Paul talks of harmony and an inclusive community.
The hope that we have involves responding to the challenges and working for a new world of justice and peace. In our response, we will be changed as a community of men and women. It may not always be easy, but it is wonderful and it is good news. Great things can happen.
Remarkably and wonderfully in this age of war and terrorism, today we hear powerful images of nonviolence and healing between diverse people.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra's den,
and the child laid his hand on the adder's lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on my entire holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
Who does God want to bring together today?
What divisions do we long to see healed?
Sunni and Shiites? Israelis and Palestinians?
Democrats and Republicans? Afghans and Taliban?
Tea Party and Progressive? Indians and Pakistanis?
Liberals and Conservatives? Blacks and whites?
Immigrants and native born? Rich and poor?
Young and old? Gay and straight?
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you seen diverse people live together in peace?
When have you been surprised by the experience of reconciliation and harmony?
What are the divisions in your local community that need to be overcome?
How is the spirit speaking to your community in this regard?
Actions - Links
December 10 is Human Rights Day.
- Human Rights Day has been observed every year since 1950. It is held on December 10th, to mark the anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. You can read the declaration of and listing of human rights at: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html .
- Get resources, bulletin resources, and other suggestions at the website of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. http://www.nrcat.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=472
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNDFFW) is campaigning to put an end to violence against women around the world. Check it at http://www.saynotoviolence.org/ or check out the vide, A Life Free of Violence is our Right at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENjhPLRXOPs&feature=related
The United Nations concludes that “At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime — with the abuser usually someone known to her.”
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has estimated that 218 million children between the ages of five and seventeen work in developing countries, often doing agricultural work in very difficult environments. 126 million children work in hazardous conditions
Prayers of Intercession
Response: May peace and justice be a band around our waist.
For an end to war and fighting, we pray….
For an end to all our preparations for war, we pray….
For an end to all our divisions, for an end to racism and discrimination, we pray….
For universal respect for the human rights of all people, we pray…..
For an end to end to all slavery and oppression, we pray….
For all our children, that they will not be oppressed and have every opportunity, 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….
O Jesus, in an empty desert your prophet John proclaimed: God is here, at your side. God has come to bring about a kingdom where injustice and suffering will be no more, where tears will be wiped away, and where those who turn to God will feast at a banquet.
"Turn now, your God is standing at your side. Reform your lives, God's kingdom is at hand." In an empty desert John said these things.
Give me faith like John's, O Lord, strong enough to believe even in a desert that you and your kingdom are no farther from me than my hand. Make my heart strong like his, not swayed by trials or snared by false pleasures. Give me courage to be faithful until your promises are fulfilled.
AdOther advent prayers can be found at this site.