Spirituality Corner

There is a way through and beyond all hardship and suffering. God does not abandon us.

December 4, 2022

2nd Sunday of Advent

At sixty years of age, Maria and Paul had a beautiful life. High school sweethearts, they had four children, five grandchildren, a successful business, good friends and a fabulous beach house. They felt very blessed. Their strong faith in God saw them through some difficult challenges. Without warning, Paul died suddenly. Maria was devastated. Why did God do this? Why did God allow this to happen? An indescribable depth of sadness weighed heavily upon her heart. She felt betrayed by the God she thought was looking out for her. She was overwhelmed by despair. Have you ever experienced such incredible and deafening sadness? Where is God in all of the pain?

We often want God to fix things or intervene and change nature’s course. When He doesn’t act as we desire, it shakes our faith. We do not always understand or appreciate why things happen as they do. There is much that is beyond our control. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus and Jesus is the way to God. There is something more going on in life than what we can see with human eyes. We are on a sacred path, and God is with us. God is with us in our confusion, suffering, doubts, and intense sadness. Jesus announced God’s vision for humanity and taught people to see God and themselves for who they are. There is a way through and beyond all hardship and suffering. God does not abandon us.

God has a clear vision for the future, both for us individually and for our world. It is a vision of harmony and gentleness where all will live as one and the “wolf shall be a guest of the lamb.” God is not indifferent. He is the God of “endurance and encouragement.” In God, we see what we may be, what may come and who we can become. When Maria opened herself to God’s creative presence, she learned to trust. She began to realize that she could endure more than she had imagined. She also discovered a spark of encouragement, bringing her through the sadness to where she could be. In retrospect, Maria knew that God’s reassuring presence was with her.

©LPi

We need to remember: the work of repentance is ongoing. It is a process that we must commit to within ourselves, continuously.

How Much Is Enough?

I’ve got some great news for some of you: Jesus Christ doesn’t care what name you bear. He doesn’t care where you were born, and he doesn’t care what your family tree looks like. He doesn’t care where you grew up or where you went to school.

I’ve also got some bad news for some of you: See above.

It’s so easy to take our salvation for granted. The mercy of God makes it so. Look at John the Baptist — he was pouring water on everybody who wanted it. Everybody but one group: those who expected it. Those who thought it was a given because of who they were, because of what they were. Those who had no intention of doing the work of repentance.

Sometimes, because God is so faithful, we make the mistake of forgetting that He is also just.

I am baptized, we think. I made my First Communion, and I was Confirmed. That’s enough.

I went to Catholic school. I know all the Ten Commandments and I can tell you anything you want to know about the Popes. That’s enough.

I’m on parish council. I put money in the basket, and I volunteer. That’s enough.

None of it is enough. It would never be enough. And before we look upon the Pharisees and Sadducees with too much judgment, we need to remember: the work of repentance is ongoing. It is a process that we must commit to within ourselves, continuously.

God is the missing element to this equation. He is the one who raises children to Abraham from the stones. If we rely only on our own abilities, our own merits, our own offerings, it will never be enough.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS  ©LPi

Scripture - Week of December 4, 2022

Monday: Is 35:1-10/Ps 85:9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14/Lk 5:17-26

Tuesday: Is 40:1-11/Ps 96:1-2, 3 and 10ac, 11-12, 13/Mt 18:12-14

Wednesday: Is 40:25-31/Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 and 10/Mt 11:28-30

Thursday: Gn 3:9-15, 20/Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4/Eph 1:3-6, 11-12/Lk 1:26-38  

Friday: Is 48:17-19/Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6/Mt 11:16-19

Saturday: Sir 48:1-4, 9-11/Ps 80:2ac and 3b, 15-16, 18-19/Mt 17:9a, 10-13

Next Sunday: Is 35:1-6a, 10/Ps 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10/Jas 5:7-10/Mt 11:2-11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing the Gospel

John the Baptist taught people to get ready for Jesus. He told them to change their lives. John helped many people wash away all their mistakes and bad choices. He washed away all their cheating, lying, fighting, and stealing. Once they were clean, John wanted them to see that living God's way is so much better. John told the people not only to clean their bodies, but to show that they love God by the way that they live.

Prayer

Dear God, help my words and my choices to show that I love you.

Something to Draw

Draw a picture of John washing you in the Jordan River.

Mission for the Week

Write a prayer to God, asking him to help you stop doing those things, and start being honest, giving and kind.

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Reflect & Resond to Scripture

First Reading:

About two hundred years after the death of King David, the prophet Isaiah in around 760 BC prophesied the arrival of a new and ideal ‘King David’ (“a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse”) that would bring about peace among people and animals.

How can any of us today help make this promised future a reality?

Second Reading:

Paul taught the Roman Christians that being a welcoming and unified community of Jewish and Gentile believers was one way to glorify God.

Do you think your group of friends are welcoming to others?

Gospel:

John the Baptist taught the people that repenting of sins and producing “good fruit” was essential for preparing for the kingdom of heaven.

What good works are you doing for your family and friends as we continue through the season of Advent?

©LPi


God already has the solution.