On this second Sunday of the new (church) year, we are reminded to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Last week, we were reminded to watch for him and be ready. How can we prepare for him? Many of our Advent calendars give us daily small tasks that will help us prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. And there are a number of other ways. Jan Richardson offers an online retreat for this season. For those who do not know Richardson, she provides reflection, scripture, imagery, and music—a worthy retreat. Years ago, SSSJ prepared an advent calendar and has been updated this year. The group FB page for St. Simon & St. Jude has daily posts of activities from the national Church. Even if you don’t do one of these, prepare yourself for the Lord’s coming is at hand.
Post your thoughts on our website.
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ ”. . .”
From sermon4kids.com: “When John told people to prepare for the King, he didn’t mean that they should go home and sweep the floor, pick up their toys, and make their beds. He meant that they should prepare their hearts. How? By repenting of their sins and turning toward God.”
Collect: Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: Look for places where the wolf and the lamb lie down together in peace. Where do you see that peace in your relationships, in your family or circle
of friends, in the neighborhood, the city, the nation, and the world? Even within yourself, where has peace been forged between previously warring factions?
Practice: How are you preparing your heart this advent? If you wish, post your comments to our website.
Saint Focus: Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán was an Ecuadorian woman known for her generous giving and devotion. She worked as a seamstress for her 8 siblings. It was important that she remain close to Christ so she meditated MANY hours of the day. Further, it is reported that her only sustenance beyond the Eucharist was bread and water [from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were :
- 4; John of Damascus, Priest & Theologian, c. 760
- 5; Clement of Alexandria, Priest & Theologian, c. 210
- 6; Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c. 342
- 7; Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, 397
- 8; Richard Baxter, Pastor and Writer, 1691 AND Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán, Mystic & Worker of Charity, 1869 AND William West Skiles, Deacon & Missionary, 1862
- 9; Atilano Coco, Priest, 1936
- 10; Thomas Merton, Monastic and Writer, 1968
image icon of “St John the Baptist”
Eye Candy: “In the wilderness prepare the way” by Jan Richardson; “John the Baptist“, teak wood relief door panel carved by Cornelius Manguma (scroll down); “The Preaching of John the Baptist” by Pieter Breugel the Elder
When you hear/read the story of John the Baptist, do you wonder about how John the Baptist knew about Jesus? Did you know they were related? How? And if someone who looked like John the Baptist began to rank at you, how would you react? If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.
This is the first of the two Advent Sundays in which John the Baptist is the dominant figure. John’s ministry as the forerunner of the Messiah is introduced in today’s gospel reading by his preaching: a stern call to repentance. John warns that neither reliance on the religious practices of the Pharisees and Sadducees nor descent from Abraham is of any use unless one turns around and repents.
The first reading is one of the visions of Isaiah. From the almost moribund family of Jesse (King David’s father) a new shoot will appear, a new David. This Messiah will establish God’s universal reign as a time of peace even extending to the natural world.
Paul’s message in the second reading also reflects on the character of the Messiah’s ministry as one for all peoples: Jews and Gentiles.
Advent calls all people, not just those who are religious, into relationship with God and with each other. Nevertheless, a key element in this new relationship is repentance, entering into the new Way of living brought through the dying and rising of Jesus.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.