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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 12-04-11, Second Sunday of Advent RNAB ^ | 12-04-11 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 12/03/2011 7:46:25 PM PST by Salvation

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For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 12/03/2011 7:46:32 PM PST by Salvation
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2 posted on 12/03/2011 7:50:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

Prologue: Promise of Deliverance

[1] Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
[2] Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
[3] A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
[4] Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
[5] And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

[9] Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
[10] Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
[11] He will feed his flock like a shepherd,
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.


40:1-55:13. These chapters make up the second part of the book of Isaiah, also
known as “Second Isaiah” or “Deutero-Isaiah”. Almost everything here refers to a
period of history one or two centuries later than that of “First Isaiah”. The oppres-
sor is no longer Assyria but Babylon, which conquered Jerusalem in 587-586 BC,
and then began a series of deportations that sent the upper classes of Jerusalem
and Judah into exile. Many years later (539 BC), Cyrus, king of the Persians,
conquered the Babylonians and issued a decree allowing those deportees who
so wished to return home. These events are echoed in Second Isaiah’s oracles,
songs, lamentations and denunciations, and the prophetic visions of the final, en-
during deliverance and restoration of the chosen people and the city of Zion.

The various literary units in this part of the book are grouped into two Is 52:7-11
sections more or less by subject. The first (40:1-48:22) implies that the Jews are
still held against their will in Babylon. Their deliverance is announced, thanks to
the power of the Lord, who rules the world and determines the course of human
affairs; he has chosen Cyrus, king of Persia, called here his “anointed”, his mes-
siah, to redeem Israel from exile (44:24-45:25).

This section, too, contains the announcement that God will choose a “servant”,
whom he will send empowered by the Spirit to establish law and justice (42:1-9,
the first “song of the Servant”).

The second section celebrates the glorious restoration of the people of God on
Zion; in this, too, the “Servant of the Lord” will play the key role; the section con-
tains the last three “songs of the Servant” (49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12).

40:1-48:22. The historical background to these chapters is the time immediately
after the return of the exiles from Babylon, which is depicted as a “new exodus”.
The exodus from Egypt was the prototype of all God’s interventions on his peo-
ple’s behalf: now we hear of another one, “new” because the power with which
God, the Creator of all things, acts now surpasses that to be seen in the exo-
dus. The news that deliverance is at hand greatly consoles the people: we are
told this at the start, and it is repeated in the oracles that follow. For this reason,
this part of the book of Isaiah is usually called the “Book of Consolation”, and it
has been interpreted as an anticipation of the consolation that Christ will bring:
“The true consolation, balm and release from all human ills is the Incarnation of
our God and Saviour” (Theodoret of Cyrus, “Commentaria In Isaiam”, 40, 3).

The section opens with a song of joy over the imminent release of the exiles
(40:1-11). After this a number of oracles are grouped together which describe the
reason why the people should hope in the Lord who is mighty and desires to save,
who is ready to do so (42:1-25), to manifest himself as the Redeemer of Israel (43:
1-44:23) and bring salvation to Jerusalem (44:24-48:19). The section ends with a
prophecy of the redemption of his people and a call to leave Babylon (48:20-22).

40:1-11. The section begins on a formal note with an anonymous voice proclai-
ming the Lord’s consolation (vv 1-5) The same voice calls on the prophet himself
to proclaim that the word of God and his message of salvation will endure forever
(vv. 6-11). The oracles are addressed to those people of Jerusalem who have been
deported to Babylon. When they were first spoken, many decades had passed
since these people and the previous generation were forced to leave the holy city.

Those years of suffering and exile have more than atoned for their sins. The time
comes for them, with the Lord’s help, to set out on the return journey. That jour-
ney is mentioned throughout this section. The voice speaking in the name of the
Lord boosts their morale: it won’t be a difficult journey; they will find a way opened
up for them which will bring them to the glory of the Lord. As in the exodus from
Egypt, on the “way” from Babylon to Jerusalem they will see wonderful evidence
of the power of God.

The words spoken by the mysterious voice, inviting them to set out, fills the retur-
nees with hope. The four Gospels see these words fulfilled in the ministry of John
the Baptist, who is the voice crying in the wilderness “Prepare the way of the
Lord” (cf. v. 3). And, indeed, John, with his call to personal conversion and his
baptism of repentance, does prepare the way for people to find Jesus (cf. Mt 3:3;
Mk 1:3; Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23), whom the Gospels confess to be “the Lord” (cf. v. 3).
John the Baptist is his herald, the “precursor”: “The voice commands that a way
be opened for the Word of God, the path smoothed and all obstacles removed:
when our God comes, he will be able to walk without hindrance. Prepare the way
of the Lord: this means to preach the gospel and to offer consolation to his people,
with the desire that the salvation of God embrace all mankind” (Eusebius of Cae-
sarea, “Commentana In Isaiam”, 40, 366). Hence, in Christian tradition, “John
the Baptist is ‘more than a prophet’ (Lk 7:26). In him, the Holy Spirit concludes
his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun
by Elijah (cf. Mt 11: 13-14). He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Is-
rael; he is the ‘voice’ of the Consoler who is coming (Jn 1:23; cf. Is 40:1-3)” (”Ca-
techism of the Catholic Church”, 719).

In the second part of the oracle, the anonymous voice asks the prophet to speak
in the name of the Lord (vv. 6-8). Merely human plans can only go so far; but the
word of God stands forever. In the things that the voice says there must be an al-
lusion to the might of Babylon, which withers like the flower of the field when the
“breath of the Lord blows upon it”, because it challenged the goodness of God.
The message to be given to the people speaks of trusting in the power of God,
who comes not to lay waste but to protect and recompense those in his care (vv.
9-11). Here we find for the first time the simile of the “flock” being applied to the
people of God, one of a number of figures of speech used in Holy Scripture to de-
scribe God’s tender care of his people (cf. Jer 23:3; Ezek 34:1ff; Ps 23:4) and
which Christian tradition uses to explain the mystery of the Church: “The Church
is a sheepfold whose one and indispensable door is Christ (Jn 10:1-10). It is a
flock of which God himself foretold he would be the shepherd (Is 40:11; Ezek 34:
11-31), and whose sheep, although ruled by human shepherds, are nevertheless
continuously led and nourished by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and the
Prince of the shepherds (cf. Jn 10:11; 1 Pet 5:4), who gave his life for the sheep
(cf. Jn 10:11-15)” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 6).

The words of vv. 6-8 will later be used in the First Letter of St Peter to confirm
the validity of the precept of brotherly love (1 Pet 1:24-25).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

3 posted on 12/03/2011 7:52:21 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 2 Peter 3:8-14

True Teaching

[8] But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slow a-
bout his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wi-
shing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. [10] But the
day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away

with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and
the works that are upon it will be burned up.

Moral Lessons to be Drawn

[11] Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought
you to be in lives of holiness and godliness awaiting for and hastening the co-
ming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dis-
solved, and the elements will melt with fire! [13] But according to his promise
we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

[14] Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him
without spot or blemish, and at peace.


8. This passage from v. 4 of Psalm 90 was often cited by Jewish rabbis in their
calculations about how long the messianic times would last and when the end
of the world would be; later on, millenarists would use it as a basis for their far-
fetched theories about Christ and his saints bearing temporal rule for a thousand
years over an earthly kingdom prior to the End. The author of the letter cites the
psalm as an authority for the view that time is a function of Creation and has no
connection with the eternity of God: the fact that the Parousia has not happened
is no reason to deny that it will happen.

9-10. In this passage we are reminded that God, in his great mercy, does not
seek our condemnation but, rather, wants all men to be saved (cf. 1 Tim 2:4;
Rom 11:22) and shows wonderful patience towards them. The fact that the Pa-
rousia has not yet come about is quite compatible with the certainty that it will
happen, and happen all of a sudden; therefore, far from being an excuse for ma-
king Christian life less demanding, the Parousia is a spur to stay vigilant (the
Master himself used the simile of the thief: cf. Mt 24:43 44; Lk 12:39). “Since
we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord
and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is com-
pleted (cf. Heb 9:27), we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and
be numbered among the blessed (cf. Mt 25:31-46) and not, like the wicked and
slothful servants (cf. Mt 25: 26), be ordered to depart into the eternal fire (cf. Mt
25:41)” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 48).

“The earth and the works that are upon it”: there are so many variants in the
Greek manuscripts that it is almost impossible to reconstruct the original text:
but they all convey the idea that the earth will be affected by this universal ca-

11-16. The writer now follows up these considerations with a moral exhortation,
based on the conviction that the old world will disappear (v. 12) producing new
heavens and a new earth (v. 13), and that men living in the period prior to this
cataclysm will not know when it is going to happen (v. 15).

All this should not make Christians afraid; in fact, it should bolster their hope
(vv.12-14). God will keep his promise to grant heaven to those who persevere in
good; but this hope of future reward should not lead one to neglect temporal af-
fairs: “Far from diminishing our concern to develop the earth, the expectancy
of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human fa-
mily grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come” (Vatican II,
“Gaudium Et Spes”, 39).

Hope opens the way to upright conduct (v. 11) of an even higher standard (v. 14).
Christians should realize that they have a pressing duty to grow in virtue as long
as they live in this world (v. 15): “God may have given us just one more year in
which to serve him. Don’t think of five, or even two. Just concentrate on this one
year, that has just started. Give it to God, don’t bury it! This is the resolution we
ought to make” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 47).

The practice of virtue leads to holiness and enduring union with God (v. 14; cf. 1
Thess 3:13). “’While we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord’ (2
Cor 5:6) and, although we have the first fruits of the Spirit, we groan inwardly (cf.
Rom 8:23) in our anxiety to be with Christ (cf. Phil 1:23). The same love urges
us to live more for Him who died for us and who rose again (cf. 2 Cor 5:15). We
make it our aim, then, to please the Lord in all things (cf. 2 Cor 5:9) and we put
on the armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil
and resist the evil day (cf. Eph 6: 13)” (”Lumen Gentium”, 48).

12. “Waiting for and hastening”: these two verbs convey the idea that Christian
hope is something dynamic; it is in no way passive. Contrary to a view quite
widespread among the Jews of the time, it does not mean that the Parousia
will come sooner, the more meritorious men are; what it means is that the more
closely united to Christ they are, the nearer they are to his glory. Therefore, it is
urgent that all should embrace faith in Christ. We who have this faith pray in the
Our Father, “Thy kingdom come.” The first Christians made the same petition in
their ejaculatory prayer, “Marana tha”, “Come, Lord” (1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:20),
referring to the second coming of the Lord.

“The day of God”: the usual expression in the New Testament is “the day of the
Lord” (1 Cor 1:8; 5:5; 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Thess 2:2; 2 Pet 3: 10); both expressions
refer to the point at which Christ will come to judge the living and the dead.

13. “New heavens and a new earth”: one of things promised for the End is that
creation will be renewed, re-fashioned: the prophets proclaimed this (cf. Is 65:
17), and the New Testament speaks of drinking new wine at the heavenly ban-
quet (cf. Mt 14:25), being given a new name (cf. Rev 2:17), singing a new song
(cf. Rev 5:9), living in a new Jerusalem (Rev 21:3). All this imagery conveys the
idea that the whole universe will be transformed, man included (cf. Rom 8:19-22).
“We know neither the moment of the consummation of the earth and of man (cf.
Acts 1:7) nor the way the universe will be transformed. The form of this world, di-
storted by sin, is passing away (cf. 1 Cor 7:31), and we are taught that God is
preparing a new dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (cf. 2
Cor 5:2; 2 Pet 3:13), whose happiness will fill and surpass all the desires of
peace arising in the hearts of men” (”Gaudium Et Spes”, 39).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 12/03/2011 7:53:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Mark 1:1-8

The Ministry of John the Baptist

[1] The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

[2] As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before
thy face, who shall prepare the way; [3] the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

[4] John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repen-
tance for the forgiveness of sins. [5] And there went out to him all the country
of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the
river Jordan, confessing their sins. [6] Now John was clothed in camel’s hair, and
had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. [7] And he
preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose
sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. [8] I have baptized you with
water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”


1. With these words St Mark gives us the title of his book and emphasizes that
Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the prophets and that he is the only Son of the
Father, whose nature he shares. The title summarizes the content of the Second
Gospel: Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.

The word “gospel” means good tidings, the good news God sends to mankind
through his Son. The content of this good news is, in the first place, Jesus Christ
himself, his words and his actions. “During the Synod [1974 Synod of Bishops],
the Bishops very frequently referred to this truth: Jesus himself, the Good News
of God (Mk 1:1, Rom 1:13), was the very first and the greatest evangelizer: he
was so through and through, to perfection and to the point of the sacrifice of his
earthly life” (Paul VI, “Evangelii Nuntiandi”, 7). The Apostles, who were chosen
by our Lord to be the basis of his Church, fulfilled his commandment to present
to Jews and Gentiles, by means of oral preaching, the witness of what they had
seen and heard—the fulfillment in Jesus Christ of the prophecies of the Old Tes-
tament, and the forgiveness of sins, adoptive sonship and inheritance of heaven
offered by God to all men. For this reason the word “gospel” can also be used
in the case of the Apostles’ preaching.

Later, the evangelists, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote down part of this oral
teaching; and thus, through Sacred Scripture and apostolic Tradition, the voice
of Christ is perpetuated throughout the centuries to reach all generations and
all nations.

The Church, which carries on the mission of the Apostles, must make the “gos-
pel” known. This it does, for example, by means of catechesis: “The primary and
essential object of catechesis is, to use an expression dear to St Paul and also
to contemporary theology, ‘the mystery of Christ.’ [...] It is therefore to reveal in
the Person of Christ the whole of God’s eternal design reaching fulfillment in that
Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ’s actions and words
and of the signs worked by him, for they simultaneously hide and reveal his mys-
tery. Accordingly, the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in
touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to
the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trini-
ty” (Bl. John Paul II, “Catechesi Tradendae”, 5).

2-3. The Gospel quotes Isaiah in particular perhaps because he was the most im-
portant of the prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah: that is why St Je-
rome called Isaiah the “Evangelist of the Old Testament”.

4. St John the Baptist presents himself to the people after spending five years in
the desert. He invites the Israelites to prepare for the coming of the Messiah by
doing penance. The figure of St John points to the continuity between the Old
and New Testaments: he is the last of the prophets and the first of the witnesses
to Jesus. Whereas the other prophets announced Jesus from afar, John the Bap-
tist was given the special privilege of actually pointing him out (cf. Jn 1:29; Mt 11:

The baptism given by the Precursor was not Christian Baptism: it was a peniten-
tial rite; but it prefigured the dispositions needed for Christian Baptism — faith in
Christ, the Messiah, the source of grace, and voluntary detachment from sin.

5. “Confessing their sins”: by seeking John’s baptism a person showed that he
realized he was a sinner: the rite which John performed announced forgiveness
of sins through a change of heart and helped remove obstacles in the way of a
person’s acceptance of the Kingdom (Lk 3:10-14).

This confessing of sin was not the same as the Christian sacrament of Penance.
But it was pleasing to God because it was a sign of interior repentance and the
people performed genuine penitential acts (Mt 3:7-10; Lk 3:7-9). In the Sacra-
ment of Penance, in order to obtain God’s forgiveness one must confess one’s
sins orally. In this connection Bl. John Paul II has said: “And keep in mind that
the teaching of the Council of Trent on the need for confession of all mortal sins
still holds and will always hold (Sess. XIV, Chap. 5 and Can. 7). The norm taught
by St Paul and by the same Council of Trent, according to which the worthy re-
ception of the Eucharist must be preceded by the confession of sins when one
is conscious of mortal sin, is and always will be in force in the Church (Sess.
XIII, Chap. 7 and Can. 11)” (”Address to Penitentiaries of the Four Major Basili-
cas in Rome”, 30 January 1981).

8. “Baptizing with the Holy Spirit” refers to the Baptism Jesus will institute and
shows how it differs from the baptism of John. In John’s baptism, as in the other
rites of the Old Testament, grace was only signified, symbolized. “By the bap-
tism of the New Law, men are baptized inwardly by the Holy Spirit, and this is
accomplished by God alone. But by the baptism of John the body alone was
cleansed by the water” (St. Thomas Aquinas, “Summa Theologiae, III, q. 38, art.
2 ad 1). In Christian Baptism, instituted by our Lord, the baptismal rite not only
signifies grace but is the effective cause of grace, i.e. it confers grace. “Baptism
confers the first sanctifying grace and the supernatural virtues, taking away Ori-
ginal Sin and also personal sins if there are any, together with the entire debt of
punishment which the baptized person owes for sin. In addition, Baptism impres-
ses the Christian character in the soul and makes it able to receive the other sa-
craments” (”St. Pius X Catechism”, 295). The effects of Christian Baptism, like
everything to do with the sanctification of souls, are attributed to the Holy Spirit,
the “Sanctifier”. It should be pointed out, however, that like all the “ad extra” ac-
tions of God (i.e. actions external to the intimate life of the Blessed Trinity), the
sanctification of souls is the work of all three Divine Persons.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

5 posted on 12/03/2011 7:56:22 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Mass Readings

First reading Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11 ©
‘Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her
that her time of service is ended,
that her sin is atoned for,
that she has received from the hand of the Lord
double punishment for all her crimes.’
A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low.
Let every cliff become a plain,
and the ridges a valley;
then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all mankind shall see it;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice,
joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear,
say to the towns of Judah,
‘Here is your God.’
Here is the Lord coming with power,
his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him,
his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

Psalm Psalm 84:9-14 ©
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
  a voice that speaks of peace,
  peace for his people.
His help is near for those who fear him
  and his glory will dwell in our land.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
Mercy and faithfulness have met;
  justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
  and justice look down from heaven.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
The Lord will make us prosper
  and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
  and peace shall follow his steps.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

Second reading 2 Peter 3:8-14 ©
There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.
  Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.

Gospel Acclamation Lk3:4,6
Alleluia, alleluia!
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight,
and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.

Gospel Mark 1:1-8 ©
The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.
and so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’

6 posted on 12/03/2011 7:59:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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Father Corapi: How Do We Prepare Well for the Coming of the Lord
Father Cantalamessa's 1st Advent Sermon: "The Christian Answer to Atheist Scientism"
A Simple Way to Pray around the Advent Wreath: Prayers for Every Day During Advent
Advent 2010 -- Day by Day
History, Customs and Folklore of Advent [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Ready or Not: Here Advent Comes
The Journey To Bethlehem is Not Comfortable! (Last week of Advent)
Humble Praise and Joyful Anticipation: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Celebrating Advent in a Culture of Fear
Grave of the Craving (Do We Embrace our Dependence on God during Advent?)
Advent -- A Season of Hope
A New Holiday Tradition -- Construct a Jesse Tree with your family during Advent
Pope on Advent: With Jesus, there is no life without meaning
Advent: Awaiting God's Justice -- Pope Benedict XVI
St. Andrew: Lighting the way for Advent
Advent Reflections for 2008
Bringing our fallen-away relations back to Church during Advent
History and Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

Rediscovering Advent in the (St.) Nick of Time
Catholic Traditions for Advent and Christmas
Mary's Gift of Self Points the Way, "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 1 of 4
The Perfect Faith of the Blessed Virgin "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 2 of 4
Theotokos sums up all that Mary is: "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 3 of 4
Reclaiming the Mystery of Advent, Part One: The Meaning of Advent
Renewing the Mystery of Advent, Part Two: The Witness of John the Baptist
Why “Gaudete?”, Part Three (Third Sunday of Advent)
Sunday before Nativity
Holy Mary and the Death of Sin - "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 4 of 4

Catholic Liturgy - Rose-Colored Vestments on Gaudete Sunday
Advent through Christmas -- 2007
Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Advent 2007 -- Day by Day
Making Advent a Reality (the seasons are out of whack)
The Advent Workshop -- lots of information and activities
Jesse Trees (genealogy of Jesus activity for families)
Advent Wreath & Candles (Prayers for the Family)
Advent Overview
Reclaiming the Mystery of Advent, Part One: The Meaning of Advent

Celebrating Christ’s Advent [Archbishop Raymond Burke]
Praying through Advent -- 2006
The Paradox of Advent
Experience the Joy of Advent
Advent: the Reason for the Season
The Advent Wreath
Advent Activity - The Jesse Tree
That incredible shrinking Advent-Christmas season (Christmas should start, not end, Dec. 25)
Advent Thoughts: Some of the Church Fathers on the Divinity of Christ
The Relationship Between Advent and the Change in the Seasons (Dom Guéranger)

7 posted on 12/03/2011 8:07:37 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Catholic Caucus: Immaculate Conception Novena Prayer Thread

8 posted on 12/03/2011 8:08:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
9 posted on 12/03/2011 8:19:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]
10 posted on 12/03/2011 8:20:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Jesus, High Priest

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

11 posted on 12/03/2011 8:21:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross


The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.

The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]

12 posted on 12/03/2011 8:22:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

13 posted on 12/03/2011 8:23:14 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

14 posted on 12/03/2011 8:25:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

Psalm 109:8

    "Let his days be few; and let another take his place of leadership."


Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.

15 posted on 12/03/2011 8:26:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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immaculate_conception.jpg (155743 bytes)

December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of December is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a singular privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior and hers, was preserved from all stain of original sin. This age-old belief of the Church was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854 as an article of revealed truth.

Mary was in need of redemption and she was indeed redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner of Mary's redemption, however, was unique. Instead of being freed from original sin after having contracted it, she was preserved from contracting it. This was a most fitting favor for the Mother of the Redeemer.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from thy sublime height turn upon me thine eyes of pity. Filled with confidence in thy goodness and knowing full well thy power, I beseech thee to extend to. me thine assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of dangers for my soul. And in order that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, , but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to thee. I consecrate my heart to thee for ever, my only desire being to love thy divine Son Jesus. Mary, none of thy devout servants has ever perished; may I too be saved. Amen.

O pure and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we all bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, 0 holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil. Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment; deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope, most sure and sacred in God's sight, to whom be honor and glory, majesty and dominion for ever and ever world without end. Amen.   
Saint Ephrem the Syrian

This prayer, dedicated to Mary Immaculate, was composed by the Pope for the Marian Year (December 8, 1953-December 8, 1954), which was proclaimed to mark the centenary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Enraptured by the splendor of your heavenly beauty, and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, 0 Immacuate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires, and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of your conception until the day on which, after your assumption into heaven, He crowned you Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths! O fragrant Lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume! 0 Conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart. Bend tenderly over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy Church, make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognize that they are brothers, and that the nations are members of one family, upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications, and above all obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars: You are all-beautiful, O Mary! You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honor of our people! Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Catholic Caucus: Immaculate Conception Novena Prayer Thread
New chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lebanon at National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Feast of the The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos December 9th
On the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Mary: "Trust Jesus, he will save you" (Catholic Caucus)
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception

Mary as the New Eve - St. Irenaeus
Mary - the Immaculate Ark of the New Covenant [Catholic Caucus]
THE LIFE OF BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS, Defender of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
An Unfathomable Marian Richness [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Immaculate Conception of Mary
History of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8 [Catholic Caucus]
Preserved Sinless from the Moment of Humanity (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception) [Catholic Caucus]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Father Marquette's Devotion to the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)

St. John Neumann and the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
Our Jewish Roots: The Immaculate Conception [Ecumenical]
And It Was Night. The Real Story of Original Sin [Ecumenical]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception
Mary Immaculate: Patroness of the United States [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholic/Orthodox Caucus: The Immaculate Conception: A Marvelous Theme - Novena Starts Nov. 30
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - Satan's Mighty Foe(Catholic Caucus)
Ark of the new covenant
Historian reveals how Pius IX decided to proclaim dogma of Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
The Immaculate Vs. the Proud

Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Blessed John Duns Scotus Champion Of Mary's Immaculate Conception (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
The Crusade of Mary Immaculate - St. Maximilian Kolbe (Catholic Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Three Reasons the Church’s Enemies Hate The Immaculate Conception
Her saving grace - the origins of the Immaculate Conception
Mary Is a Model Who Works With Us and in Us
U.S. Catholic bishops to renew consecration of nation to Immaculate Conception
Catholic Meditation: To the Immaculate Conception on this Election Day
Saint Bernadette of Lourdes (Sermon from 1934)

My visit to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception - "In Mary Shines the Eternal Goodness of the Creator"
The Belief of Catholics concerning the Blessed Virgin: the Second Eve
Pope makes pilgrimage to Mary statue in Rome, marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception
Pope: Mary the Immaculate Conception... (text of BXVI speech)
"Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te" (The Immaculate Conception)
The Immaculate Conception — Essential to the Faith
"Who Are You, Immaculate Conception?"
TURKEY Ephesus: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary’s House
Coming Dec 8th. Feast of the "Immaculate Conception"

Why the Immaculate Conception?
Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception (The Doctrine and Its Roots)
The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady December 8
Mary's Immaculate Conception: A Memorable Anniversary
Ineffabilis Deus: 8 December 1854 (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)
Why do we believe in the Immaculate Conception?
John Paul II goes to Lourdes; reflections on the Immaculate Conception
Your Praises We Sing--on the Dogma of the Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th
Eastern Christianity and the Immaculate Conception (Q&A From EWTN)
Memorandum on the Immaculate Conception [Newman]

16 posted on 12/03/2011 8:27:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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December, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI's Intentions

General Intention: That the nations of the earth, through knowledge and mutual respect, may grow in harmony and peace.

Missionary Intention: That children and young people may be messengers of the Gospel and that their dignity may always be respected and preserved from all violence and exploitation.

17 posted on 12/03/2011 8:31:04 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Arlington Catholic Herald

Get in shape for Christmas
By Fr. Jack Peterson, YA

Two of my brothers in Youth Apostles ran in the Marine Corps Marathon last month. I admire people who are motivated enough to accomplish such a monumental task. One of them shared with me an outline of the intense preparations he made for that day, which included an intense, well-formulated running schedule, dietary program and sleep regimen. It is hardly surprising that so much preparation is needed in order to run more than 26 miles in one morning.

Christmas recalls a pivotal moment in the history of mankind and a fundamental mystery of faith in the life of every Christian. It makes sense that we as grateful Christians would make serious preparations for this monumental celebration of God’s goodness and beauty. In order to truly celebrate the event of the Word-made-flesh, we must take time to prepare ourselves spiritually. This is one main purpose of Advent.

John the Baptist was sent by God to help humanity prepare for the coming of the Son of God to dwell among us. Both John’s life and his message helped to prepare the way 2,000 years ago. His life and his message remain very helpful for our preparations today.

John’s life was marked by a powerful humility. As effective as his ministry was and as large as the crowds were that came to hear him speak, John never lost focus on his mission. He never got caught up in the notoriety or the importance of his ministry; rather, he took every opportunity possible to point people to Jesus and to state what was in his heart, “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.” We can learn so much from John’s humility and focus on his vocation.

John’s message was simple and direct. It helped that the people of God had been without a prophet for many years and that they were hungering for a refreshing, authoritative word from God. Mark the Evangelist said that John “appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” God is making it clear that there is no welcoming of Christ into our hearts without an awareness that my life is not as it should be, that I have turned away from the Lord and wandered from the path to life. I have offended God and hurt myself and my neighbor. If I do not see this reality, then I do not need Jesus to come among us and set me free.

The good news includes the fact that God is patient with us as we fumble our way on this journey back to Him. St. Peter teaches that God “is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” God wants every one of us to return to Him and receive His life-giving mercy; He shutters at the thought of even one of us perishing because we fail to either recognize our need for reconciliation or His burning desire to extend it to us.

One of the greatest graces in life is the sacrament of penance. It is a place where God speaks to us so tenderly, forgives us so generously and comforts us so warmly. Isaiah the prophet, inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaks of the grace of the sacrament: “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated.”

As we prepare for Christmas and the coming of Christ, Healer and Redeemer, it makes sense to heed John’s message of repentance. Make use of the great sacrament of penance this Advent.

It also makes sense to imitate John’s humility and his desire to bring others to Christ. Perhaps we can make a commitment this Advent to invite one friend or family member to join us for a prayerful event at our home or at our parish in order to help them to encounter Christ anew this Christmas.

Finally, with all that we do this Advent in preparation for the coming of Christ, may we share in the mission of the Church, prophetically proclaimed by Isaiah: “Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah; Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules with his strong arm.”

Fr. Peterson is assistant chaplain at Marymount University in Arlington and director of the Youth Apostles Institute in McLean.

18 posted on 12/03/2011 8:45:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Work of God

  Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight - John the Baptist Catholic Gospels - Homilies - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit

Year B

 -  Second Sunday of Advent

Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight - John the Baptist

Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight - John the Baptist Catholic Gospels - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit Mark 1:1-8

1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
7 He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.
8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Second Sunday of Advent - Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight - John the Baptist “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”. This was the work assigned to my prophet John the Baptist.

Before he was even born, he was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb of Elizabeth his mother, at the time of the visitation of my mother. He grew up as a holy man like no other before him, because he was given the task of preparing the way for my coming as the saviour of the world.

He was a humble man, who practiced austerity and self-denial; he offered his entire life to my service until the day he was put to death by Herod.

His preaching encompassed my entire message, which is that you all repent, because my kingdom is very near to you, he baptized with water and proclaimed my baptism with the fire of the Holy Spirit. In humility he declared his unworthiness in my presence, because he acknowledged that I was the Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

He was given the honour of baptizing me, in order for me to sanctify the waters of baptism, to allow you all to be washed of your sins and become part of my mystical body.

His mission was to call people to repentance, so that they could be worthy to meet me and obtain their salvation.

His work has been passed down to all of you who come to believe in me and to follow me. When you repent of your own sins and come humbly before me, you receive my greatest gift, the fire of the Holy Spirit; which transforms the normal man into a new Christ, a reflection of my own being. Your apostolate will be to bring me souls, so that they will be saved.

I call you all to be transformed by me. Prepare the way for the Lord by your repentance, by your humility, by your devotions and your life in imitation of me.

I will do my silent work in your soul and make you a child of God, I will sanctify you and give you my wisdom, I will grant you my peace and bless you to live joyfully for me.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary

19 posted on 12/03/2011 8:59:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Archdiocese of Washington

An old spiritual says, God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, but the fire next time. The second reading in today’s Mass speaks to us of the “Fire next time” and again reminds of the need to be ready for the coming of the Lord. Note four aspects of this reading:

1. The PATIENCE that is PURPOSEFUL. The text says, Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Though the Lord seems long delayed in coming (2000+ years!), the text tells us that this patience is so that as many of us can be saved as possible.

But notice that the text says that God wants us to come to repentance. So God’s patience should not be seen as a place for presumption, but, rather, a time for repentance. This is no time to say, “Later.” This is a time to be serious about repentance and preparation to meet the Lord.

Note too that the Greek word here translated as repentance is μετάνοιαν (metanoian), referring not just to better behavior, but also to new mind. For our transformation is not merely external but also internal. When, what we think changes, so does our behavior. When our thinking is conformed to God’s revealed truth, our priorities, feelings, desires and decisions all begin to change as well. Conversion and repentance are the result of being a changed and transformed human being with a new mind.

2. The PASSING that is PERILOUS. The text says, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

In effect, the text says that God’s gonna set this world on fire one of these days. And when he comes it will be

A. Sudden – For the text says that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. This is quite a consistent image that Jesus used for the Day of Judgement as well. But the image should not be true for us who wait and watch. St. Paul says, But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief….So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. (1 Thess 5:4,6).

Further the image of the thief is also not for us if we realize that all we have and are belong to God. For those who are worldly, and claim authority over themselves and ownership over their things, God is a thief who comes suddenly, and in a hidden way. He overtakes their apparent ownership and possession and puts an end to it. To them he seems a thief as he “steals” what they consider theirs. They are badly misled.

But for we who watch and are prepared (pray God), the Lord comes not to take, but to give; to bestow and reward as we inherit His Kingdom.

B. Shocking - For the text speaks of the heavens as roaring and of fire which overwhelms, and by it, all will be dissolved with fire.

Now here too, the image, though shocking, should not alarm us if we are already on fire. At Pentecost, and personally, at our baptism and confirmation, the Lord lit a fire in us to set us spiritually on fire; to  bring us up to the temperature of glory. Thus, for those in the Lord, the “weather” on that day will seem just fine.

The prophet Malachi speaks of the twofold experience of the Day of the Lord in this way: “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. Notice therefore, that for some the Day is burning with wrathful heat, but for the Just, it is a sunny day wherein the Sun (Son) of righteousness will bring warmth and healing (Mal 4:1-3).

An old spiritual glosses on this verse saying, God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no water but the fire next time. Thus God wants to get us ready by setting us on fire with his love and grace. If God is a Holy Fire then we must become fire ourselves in order to endure the day of his coming.

C. Showing – for the text says, all things will be revealed.

So it would seem that this fire burns away the masks many people wear and they are seen for they are. The Lord says, But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken (Matt 12:36). And again he says, There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (Lk 12:2-3).

Now even the just may wince at this, for all have a past and would prefer the past stay in the past. But I have sometimes seen, when I have visited 12 Step meetings, how many will recount vividly what they did when they were drinking. And they do so with little shame and much laughter, for they share it among those who understand, and as one who has been set free from the source of the problem. Perhaps for the just on that disclosing Day it will be like that.

But for those who are among the unrepentant, consider the embarrassment and fear as their secrets, sins and injustices are disclosed among those who are also unforgiving and unmerciful. A bad scene really.

3. The PRESCRIPTION that is PROCLAIMED – the text says, Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire….Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

The text asks rhetorically “What sort of persons ought you to be?!” The answer in a word is “fiery.” God has lit a fire in us to purify and refine us. Hence on that Day, when the Lord will judge by fire, we will pass through. And though some final purifications (purgation) may take place, the fact that the fire has been kindled in us, and fanned into flame, will mean just that, purification, not destruction. St Paul describes the just as going through the purgatorial fire that leads to purfication rather than destruction in hell: If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames (1 Cor 3:12-15).

So the prescription for us is that we let God set us afire now so as to purify us, making us more holy and devout. The fire now of His Holy Spirit is the only thing that can truly prepare us  and permit us later to endure the day of his coming and be spared the “wrath to come” (cf 1 Thess 1:10; Matt 3:7; Romans 5:9; 1 Thess 5:9) when God will judge the world and everything in by fire.

4. The PERFECTION that is PROMISED - The text says, But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

This text presents the possibility that the created world will not so much be destroyed as purified by this fiery judgment of God. While the text may also signify a total destruction of all that now is, and a replacement of it by a new heavens and earth, it is also debated that the created world will instead be renewed, rather than destroyed and replaced. This view would correspond with other texts (e.g. Isaiah 11); and Romans 8 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.(Rom 8:20-21).

Whatever the solution, to the debate, the bottom line is that the new (or renewed) world will be a heaven wedded to earth in which full righteousness of God will be manifest. Further, we will be without spot or blemish and at peace. Yes, God’s gonna set this world on fire one of these days, Hallelujah. And God’s fire purifies that which is holy, and burns away all which is lacking or unholy. God will restore all things in Christ!

20 posted on 12/03/2011 9:09:23 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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