As we light the second candle today lets reflect on how our advent renewal’s going. In the first reading we’ve a vision of the new earth the Christ child brings, the wolf lying down with the lamb. Like John in our Gospel we can shape this paradise by making straight the way of the lord in our hearts and world. Lets confess any ways we fail to further peace especially.
If there’s patron saint of advent its John the Baptist. He inspired the first preparation for Christ’s birth. The word John means “the Lord has shown favor”. He responded to the God’s favor with great generosity. So the church rightly puts him before us as a faith model today. A cousin of Jesus, born late to Zechariah and Elizabeth, from birth he put his whole heart into preparing the way for the Lord. As scripture says he strove to “make straight in the wilderness a highway for Our God”.
We can all to do likewise. We too were anointed as Christ’s prophets at baptism, when we vowed to love God and others with all our heart, soul and mind. John did that with total generosity, even giving his life for the truth. He did so because he’d grown steadily in grace from youth when he went into the wilderness to find God. After that he began a great mission to bring people to God and his Christ. We should do the same.
Indeed, we promised solemnly to do so at Baptism and Confirmation. Lets confirm those vows by witnessing to him before the world and by living holy lives now. Like John, rather than straws in the wind of worldly values, lets be people of God. He told the truth and called people to Christ and what’s right in the violent immoral age of Jesus’s day. Yet was it so different from our world. Our age too needs to be called from skepticism, immorality and materialism to faith, love, and goodness. John lived the opposite of the corruption of the day. So must we.
For John didn’t just preach, he lived the faith. And he finally gave way to Christ. He wasn’t focussed on his own fame, power or glory, only on serving the truth. In our age we too should stand for all that’s true, good and holy, even if it means standing out, or suffering. And having done our duty lets have John’s humility also; accepting our limitations and humbly placing ourselves in the Lord’s hands. Not all of us can be great prophets like John, but we can light up our world by living as best we can our baptismal calling in our environment today.
Our homes especially can be lights of love, honesty and integrity, and of course fun. For people need Christ’s brightness now as never before. So gathered here in faith lets vow to do just that in the spirit of John. Let’s love our children and spouses, lets lead them in godly happiness, and accompany them to joyful advent and Christmas masses. Let’s work in our community for peace and justice for the poor. Lets make this Christmas a special time for lonely, sick or old who need our care. So that like John we’ll be raised up in the Spirit with Our Savior at this time and forever. For the crooked ways of the sinful world distort and destroy the soul, but in Christ we can make all that straight and make a difference by loving joyful lives. For Christ is lord of love, goodness, peace, beauty and truth both for our deep happiness in this world and forever and ever, amen.
So, baptized to be modern prophets for Christ, for all that’s true and good, lets profess our precious faith anew.
Prayers of the Faithful
As the people of God we pray now to our heavenly Father for all that we need to be his loving hands this advent and Christmas…
For our Holy Father, the bishops and church pastors, that like John, they will make straight in our confused and broken world a highway of faith, peace and goodness for God and his Christ.
For civil leaders that they may listen to the voice of God and the people, not just their own interests and worldly ideology.
For youth that they may find the true youth of their hearts and souls in following Christ and his church faithfully with joy.
For ourselves, that this advent we may live out our prophetic baptismal role; may we witness to Christ and all That’s life-giving and gracious in our homes, workplace and wider world.
For the sick and needy of our parish and world that through our generous sharing of our time with them we may help shape a pleasanter, more enjoyable and more loving Christmas for all.
For the dead, may they enter the heavenly home reserved for them from the foundation of the world, helped by our communal prayers.
And we ask all these prayers through Christ our Lord, the source of all goodness, grace and peace forever and ever amen.
There is a story told of a man also called John who heralded Christ in today’s world. He used to call into the church each day to say hello to Jesus. People noticed that he became kinder and happier as a result. What do you do in the church they said. “Oh”, he said, “I just say hello to the lord and he says hello to me, we get closer as time goes on”. That, dear people, is the prayer we’re all called to this advent, to get closer and closer to the lord and so be more amiable to all around us. Let us pray that our mother Mary will help us do that – Hail Mary