Read : GOSPEL : Luke 3:1-6
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. He went throughout [the] whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah : “A voice of one crying out in the desert : ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Reflection and meditation
The Gospel reading starts with the historical context of John’s proclamation. It is a proof that John and Jesus lived on this earth at a particular historical period. Indeed, Jesus walked this earth, and today we walk on it and live on it as our shared common home.
Advent reminds us of putting order in our “Home” because someone is coming. ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’ John’s message focusses on the most important way to prepare – Repentance. Yes, Advent is an opportune time for the grace of conversion – conversion as reconciliation with all creation. “To achieve such reconciliation, we must examine our lives and acknowledge the ways in which we have harmed God’s creation through our actions and our failure to act.” (par. 218 – Laudato Si) “The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion.” (par. 219 – Laudato Si)
Here are some recommendations to experience Joy and Peace :
- “Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack.” (par. 222 – Laudato Si)
- “It is no longer enough to speak only of the integrity of ecosystems. We have to dare to speak of the integrity of human life, of the need to promote and unify all the great values. Once we lose our humility, and become enthralled with the possibility of limitless mastery over everything, we inevitably end up harming society and the environment.” (par. 224 – Laudato Si)
- “Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology and for the common good because, lived out authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life.” (par. 225 – Laudato Si)
Pray for a real ecological conversion for all peoples of this earth at this particular period of our history.
From the First Reading from Baruch we hear : “Wrap yourself in the mantle of holiness that comes from God, put on your head the crown of glory of the Eternal One.” Prepare the way of the Lord - Say no to excessive consumerism.
Do something about “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
“Since God began such a good work in you, I am certain that he will complete it in the day of Christ Jesus.” (from the Second Reading : Phil 1:4-6,8-11)
Celebrate : A prayer for our earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.