2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Readings at Mass (see our compilation with pictures in Encouragements-171) 8-)
Liturgical Colour: Violet.
First Reading: Baruch 5:1-9
God means to show your splendour to every nation
Jerusalem, take off your dress of sorrow and distress,
put on the beauty of the glory of God for ever,
wrap the cloak of the integrity of God around you,
put the diadem of the glory of the Eternal on your head:
since God means to show your splendour to every nation under heaven,
since the name God gives you for ever will be,
‘Peace through integrity, and honour through devotedness.’
Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east:
see your sons reassembled from west and east
at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them.
Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort,
now God brings them back to you like royal princes carried back in glory.
For God has decreed the flattening of each high mountain, of the everlasting hills,
the filling of the valleys to make the ground level
so that Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God.
And the forests and every fragrant tree will provide shade
for Israel at the command of God;
for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory
with his mercy and integrity for escort.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 125(126)
What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.
When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage, it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, on our lips there were songs.
The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.
Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap.
They go out, they go out, full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song, carrying their sheaves.
Second Reading: Philippians 1:4-6,8-11
May you become pure and blameless in preparation for the day of Christ
Every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes; and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you. My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight,
and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.
Gospel: Luke 3:1-6
The call of John the Baptist
In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrach of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas the word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low,
winding ways will be straightened and rough roads made smooth.
And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
1. Today we are celebrating the Second Sunday of Advent, a favourable time for allowing the Word of God to illumine our hearts and minds more deeply, so that the Holy Spirit may prepare us worthily to welcome the Lord who comes.
In today’s liturgy the figure of John the Baptist appears, the prophet sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. His voice cries out "in the wilderness" where he had withdrawn and where, as the Evangelist Luke says, "the word of God came to [him]" (Luke 3:2), making him the herald of the divine kingdom.
How can we fail to accept his powerful call to conversion, recollection and austerity at a time — like our own —ever more subject to dissipation, to inner fragmentation, to the cultivation of appearances? At first sight the "wilderness" evokes a feeling of solitude, bewilderment and fear; the "wilderness" however is also the providential place for meeting God.
2. John the Baptist’s cry re-echoes from generation to generation: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth" (Luke 3:4-5). How urgent and timely is this call at both the personal and social level! God wants to come and dwell with the people of every time and place, and he calls them to co-operate with him in the work of salvation.
But how? Today’s liturgy gives us the answer: we must "straighten" injustices, "fill" the void with goodness, mercy, respect and understanding, "bring low" pride, barriers and violence, and "make smooth" all that prevents people from living a free and dignified life. Only in this way can we prepare to celebrate Christmas in an authentic way.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 7 December 1997)
Homily, 10 December 2000 - JUBILEE OF CATECHISTS AND RELIGION TEACHERS
(See our extracts with pictures in Encouragements-172) 8-)
Angelus, 10 December 2000 - JUBILEE OF CATECHISTS AND RELIGION TEACHERS
In a few days we will recall the approval given 50 years ago to the Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It is an important date for many people who, forced to flee their own countries because of war and persecution, have found in this programme protection and aid on every continent.
It is also important for the men and women who have unselfishly offered their time, skill and generous willingness even over and above their work duties, to bring help to these refugees in often serious and dangerous situations. They should be thanked by the international community, which must be committed to guarding their safety and supporting their humanitarian work, with the necessary economic aid as well. In international solidarity and in political dialogue, it is possible to find solutions so that the sheltering of refugees is not too burdensome in some countries and their basic rights and freedoms are defended by public institutions and structures.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 10 December 2000)
1. "Prepare the way of the Lord, clear him a straight path" (Luke 3: 4).
This invitation of St John the Baptist resounds strongly on this Second Sunday of Advent. It is a prophetic cry that continues to resound through the centuries.
We consider this cry also in our present day, as humanity continues its journey in history. To the men and women of the third millennium in search of serenity and peace, he indicates the necessary path to take.
2. The entire Liturgy of Advent echoes the Precursor, inviting us to encounter Christ who comes to save us. We are preparing to commemorate the birth which took place in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago; we renew our faith in his glorious coming at the end of time. At the same time, we prepare to recognize his presence among us: indeed, he also visits us through the people and events of daily life.
3. Mary is our model and guide in this spiritual programme typical of Advent, she who is much more blessed not for having generated Christ, but for having believed in him (cf. St Augustine, Serm. 25, 7: PL 46, 937). In Mary, preserved immaculate from every sin and filled with grace, God found the "good soil" where he planted the seed of the new humanity.
May the Immaculate Virgin, whose feast we are celebrating tomorrow, help us to prepare well "the way of the Lord", in ourselves and in the world.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 7 December 2003)
This is the deepest purpose of this sacred building's existence: the church exists so that in it we may encounter Christ, Son of the living God. God has a Face. God has a Name. In Christ, God was made flesh and gave himself to us in the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist.
The Word is flesh. It is given to us under the appearances of bread and thus truly becomes the Bread on which we live. We live on Truth. This Truth is a Person: he speaks to us and we speak to him. The Church is the place of our encounter with the Son of the living God and thus becomes the place for the encounter among ourselves. This is the joy that God gives us: that he made himself one of us, that we can touch him and that he dwells among us. The joy of God is our strength.
Thus, the Gospel finally introduces us into the period in which we live today. It leads us towards Mary, whom we honour as the Star of Evangelization.
At a crucial time in history, Mary offered herself, her body and soul, to God as a dwelling place. In her and from her the Son of God took flesh. Through her the Word was made flesh (cf. John 1: 14).
Thus, it is Mary who tells us what Advent is: going forth to meet the Lord who comes to meet us; waiting for him, listening to him, looking at him.
Mary tells us why church buildings exist: they exist so that room may be made within us for the Word of God; so that within us and through us the Word may also be made flesh today.
Thus, we greet her as the Star of Evangelization: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us so that we may live the Gospel. Help us not to hide the light of the Gospel under the bushel of our meagre faith. Help us by virtue of the Gospel to be the light of the world, so that men and women may see goodness and glorify the Father who is in Heaven (cf. Matthew 5: 14ff.). Amen!
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 10 December 2006)
In these days the liturgy constantly reminds us that "God comes" to visit his people, to dwell in the midst of men and women and to form with them a communion of love and life: a family.
John's Gospel expresses the mystery of the Incarnation in this way: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us"; literally: "pitched his tent among us" (John 1: 14). Does not perhaps the building of a church among the homes of a town or a city district evoke this great gift and mystery?
The church building is a concrete sign of the Church community, formed from the "living stones" who are the believers, an image very dear to the Apostles. St Peter (cf. I Peter 2: 4-5) and St Paul (cf. Ephesians 2: 20-22) emphasize how the "cornerstone" of this spiritual temple is Christ and that, united to him and well compact, we are also called to participate in the building of this living temple.
If God therefore takes the initiative to come and dwell among men and it is always he who is the principal author of this project, then it is true that he also does not want to accomplish it without our active collaboration.
Thus, to prepare oneself for Christmas means to be committed to building the "dwelling of God with men". No one is excluded; everyone can and must contribute in order to make this house of communion more spacious and beautiful.
At the end of time, it will be completed and it will be the "heavenly Jerusalem": "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth", one reads in the book of Revelation, "...I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.... Behold, the dwelling of God is with men" (Revelation 21: 1-3).
Advent invites us to cast a glance towards the "heavenly Jerusalem", which is the goal of our earthly pilgrimage. At the same time, it exhorts us to commit ourselves to prayer, conversion and good works, to welcome Jesus in our life, to build together with him this spiritual edifice by which each one of us - our families and our communities - is a precious stone.
Among all the stones that form the heavenly Jerusalem, certainly the most resplendent and precious, because she is the closest of all to Christ the cornerstone, is Mary Most Holy. Through her intercession, we pray so that this Advent may be for the entire Church a time of spiritual edification and therefore hasten the coming of God's Kingdom.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 10 December 2006)
Two things attract our attention. The first is the abundance of references to all the political and religious authorities of Palestine in A.D. 27-28. The Evangelist evidently wanted to warn those who read or hear about it that the Gospel is not a legend but the account of a true story, that Jesus of Nazareth is a historical figure who fits into that precise context. The second noteworthy element is that after this ample historical introduction, the subject becomes "the word of God", presented as a power that comes down from Heaven and settles upon John the Baptist.
Tomorrow will be the liturgical Memorial of St Ambrose, the great Bishop of Milan. I take from him a comment on this Gospel text: "The Son of God", he writes, "before gathering the Church together, acts first of all in his humble servant. Thus St Luke rightly says that the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness, because the Church was not born from people, but from the Word" (Espos. on St Luke's Gospel 2, 67). Here then is the meaning: the Word of God is the subject that moves history, inspires the prophets, prepares the way for the Lord and convokes the Church. Jesus himself is the divine Word who was made flesh in Mary's virginal womb: in him God was fully revealed, he told us, and gave us his all, offering to us the precious gifts of his truth and mercy. St Ambrose then continues in his commentary: "Thus the Word came down so that the earth, which was previously a desert, might produce its fruit for us" (ibid.).
Dear friends, the most beautiful flower that blossomed from the word of God is the Virgin Mary. She is the first-fruit of the Church, God's garden on this earth. However, while Mary is Immaculate we shall celebrate her as such the day after tomorrow the Church is continually in need of purification, because sin lays snares for all her members. In the Church a conflict is always present between the desert and the garden, between sin that renders the ground arid and grace that waters it so that it may produce abundant fruits of holiness. Therefore let us pray to the Mother of the Lord that she may help us, in this Season of Advent, to "rectify" our lives, letting ourselves be guided by the word of God.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 6 December 2009)
This setting helps us to realize that John, as the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, both from priestly families, is not only the last of the prophets but also represents the entire priesthood of the Old Covenant and thus prepares people for the spiritual worship of the New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus (cf. ibid., pp. 18-19). In addition, Luke discredits all the mythical interpretations that are often made of the Gospels, by putting the Baptist’s life in its historical context and by writing: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor... in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas” (Luke 3:1-2). The great event, the birth of Christ, which his contemporaries did not even notice, fits into this historical framework. For God the great figures of history serve as a frame for the lowly!
John the Baptist is described as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight” (Luke 3:4). The voice proclaims the word, but in this case the Word of God comes first, since the word of God came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness (cf. Lk 3:2). He therefore plays an important role but always in terms of Christ. St Augustine comments: “John is the voice, but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning (cf. John 1:1). John is the voice that lasts for a time; from the beginning Christ is the Word who lives for ever. Take away the word, the meaning, and what is the voice? Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound. The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart” (In ev. Johannis tractatus 293, 3: pl 38, 1328).
Today it is up to us to listen to that voice so as to make room for Jesus, the Word who saves us, and to welcome him into our hearts. Let us prepare ourselves in this Season of Advent to see, with the eyes of faith in the humble Grotto of Bethlehem, God’s salvation (cf. Luke 3:6). In the consumer society in which we are tempted to seek joy in things, the Baptist teaches us to live in an essential manner, so that Christmas may be lived not only as an external feast, but as the feast of the Son of God who came to bring men and women peace, life and true joy.
Let us entrust our journey to encounter the Lord who comes, to the motherly intercession of Mary, the Virgin of Advent, in order to be ready to receive, in our heart and in our whole life, the Emmanuel, God-with-us.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 9 December 2012)
The voice of the Baptist still cries in the deserts of humanity today, which are — what are today’s deserts? — closed minds and hardened hearts. And [his voice] causes us to ask ourselves if we are actually following the right path, living a life according to the Gospel. Today, as then, he admonishes us with the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Prepare the way of the Lord!” (v. 4). It is a pressing invitation to open one’s heart and receive the salvation that God offers ceaselessly, almost obstinately, because he wants us all to be free from the slavery of sin. But the text of the prophet amplifies this voice, portending that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (v. 6). And salvation is offered to every man, and every people, without exclusion, to each one of us. None of us can say, “I’m a saint; I’m perfect; I’m already saved”. No. We must always accept this offer of salvation. This is the reason for the Year of Mercy: to go farther on this journey of salvation, this path that Jesus taught us. God wants all of mankind to be saved through Jesus, the one mediator (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4-6).
Therefore, each one of us is called to make Jesus known to those who do not yet know him. But this is not to proselytize. No, it is to open a door. “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16), St Paul declared. If Our Lord Jesus has changed our lives, and he changes it every time we go to him, how can we not feel the passion to make him known to those we encounter at work, at school, in our apartment building, in the hospital, in meeting places? If we look around us, we find people who would be willing to begin — or begin again — a journey of faith were they to encounter Christians in love with Jesus. Shouldn’t we and couldn’t we be these Christians? I leave you this question: “Am I truly in love with Jesus? Am I convinced that Jesus offers me and gives me salvation?” And, if I am in love, I have to make him known! But we must be courageous: lay low the mountains of pride and rivalry; fill in the ravines dug by indifference and apathy; make straight the paths of our laziness and our compromises.
May the Virgin Mary, who is Mother and knows how to do so, help us to tear down the walls and the obstacles that impede our conversion, that is, our journey toward the encounter with the Lord. He alone, Jesus alone can fulfil all the hopes of man!
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 6 December 2015)
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Compiled on 9 December 2018