PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD
One of the major icons of the Advent Season is John the Baptist, that unpredictable figure who served as the advanceman for Jesus - calling upon people to repent and prepare for the one whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie." In response to John's message, the crowd asked, "What then should we do?" He said to them in reply, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." What a timely message for us during this Advent Season as we prepare for Christ's coming, both his immediate coming in the Christmas feast and his final coming in power and glory, given the excessive commercialism that has become so associated with our observance of Christmas.
In his 1991 magnificent encyclical Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II expressed sadness over such consumerism which he described as exhausting. He pointed out that we in the West, in particular, are shaped and conditioned from cradle to grave to live and act as consumers. This trend has continued, and perhaps even increased. We are bombarded incessantly with ever-changing advertising techniques that seek to define and create more and greater need: the superfluous becomes the convenient, the convenient becomes the necessary, and the necessary becomes the indispensable. Moreover, these high-powered advertising techniques seek not only to create and define more and greater needs, but to shape the attitude and the viewpoint of the consumer as well. The self becomes the center of the universe; other people become things to serve one's needs; the norm is efficiency; the means will be whatever works; unethical business practices, adultery, euthanasia or whatever else suits one's convenience.
That is why we need to break away from the lifestyle of high consumption, of the wasteful depletion of resources, and of the excessive use of service and leisure that exist within our society. Then we can truly listen to what the Gospel values have to say: Gospel values that tell us that we are all God's children and that with respect to the goods of this world we are stewards not masters; Gospel values that say how blessed are the poor in spirit; Gospel values that tell us that we should be essentially content to be fed and to be clothed. We must be ready to take the steps to translate these recommendations of the Gospel into realities.
As we approach the Christmas feast, there are all kinds of alternatives to the consumerism so associated with this season. For example, making our own gifts or holiday food, donating a percentage of what we intend to spend on presents to church or to a charity that serves the needy, spending time with family, celebrating Christmas traditions, attending Mass together at the feast or discussing the meaning of Christ's coming in our own day. John the Baptist continues to cry out today, "Make straight the way of the Lord." Curbing the exorbitant spending on Christmas gifts and parties is a concrete way for us to respond to this exhortation.
THE LETTER OF PAUL
TO THE EPHESIANS
BIBLE STUDY: Join us for our next Bible Study session beginning in January 2018; The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians.
We are the Body of Christ, but how often do we consider exactly what that means? What sets us apart from the rest of the world as members of Christ's own body?
- Starting mid-January for 10 weeks
- Books are $22 and due December 8th
- Please make checks payable to St. John the Baptist, notating 'Bible Study Morning' or 'Bible Study Evening' in the memo.
RIGHT OF CHRISTIAN FORMATION (RCIA)
Are you or someone you know interested in joining the Catholic faith community? Are you a Catholic who desires to complete the initiation process by receiving the Eucharist and Confirmation?
If you answered Yes to one of these questions, we warmly invite you to entering the RCIA process. RCIA is designed to assist adults who have never been baptized, have been baptized in another Christian religion and want to become Catholic, or those who were baptized Catholic but have not received the Eucharist and Confirmation. For more information please email Louise McDonough or leave your name and contact information with the Rectory staff.
PRAYER OF THE WEEK
Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent
Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company. who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.