Saturday, December 8, 2007

SUNDAY REFLECTION - December 9, 2007

Good News Reflections

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Good News Reflection
December 9, 2007
Second Sunday of Advent

Sunday's Readings:
Isaiah 11:1-10
Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
Rom 15:4-9
Matt 3:1-12

Peace is the theme of the Second Sunday of Advent. The first reading describes Christ, the Messiah who came from the line of Jesse, King David's father. It also describes how to obtain peace — a peace that sustains us even in the midst of sufferings and trials. It's the very nature of Jesus himself: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him"; have you felt the Holy Spirit "resting" on you lately?

We experience true peace when we're in a restful relationship with God, i.e., when we're not struggling against him and his ways and his plans for us. Peace does not depend on finding an end to the struggles we have with people or with financial shortages or addictions or health problems, etc.. We can work hard to accomplish peace in any trial, win the war, and still not be at peace.

Peace comes to us in the wisdom and understanding that we get from the Holy Spirit. Peace comes from following the Spirit's counsel and relying upon God's strength. Peace comes from gaining knowledge of the truth that God wants us to know, in total submission to his authority, obediently acting upon the truth.

In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist reminds us to "prepare the way of the Lord and make straight his paths." To receive the Spirit of God and his peace, we must prepare ourselves to meet Jesus in the Mass and in all the other ways that he wants to come to us. How? By identifying and repenting of our sins, thus straightening our crooked paths. We need to get rid of the obstacles that block our view of Jesus. We need to stop following our feelings and fascinations that lead us into twisted circles that get us nowhere fast in our search for peace.

Whatever separates us from God's peace we must get rid of, either through the Sacrament of Reconciliation or, when we've committed only small, venial sins, through the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass.

Questions for Personal Reflection:

What turmoil is going on in your life? What has stolen your peace? The only control you have over the problems that disturb you is how you let them affect you. Where is Jesus? What obstacles (e.g., unforgiveness or resentment) do you need to repent of to see him and feel his peace?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:

What methods do you use to settle down and rest in the Spirit of Jesus when turmoil is spinning around you? What kind of prayer helps? Do you go on retreat or confide in a spiritual director? What are some other ideas?

© 2007 by Terry A. Modica