In the midst of all the divisiveness and conflict wracking our nation and our world, today’s readings offer such a promise ofhope and a clear guidepost for healing! Isaiah, Paul and Matthew are each pointing us the way to go.
We look with hope to Isaiah’s words in the first reading, with their assurance of a time of justice, peace and harmony. Even so-called natural enemies will live in peace: “the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together.... The cow and the bear shall be neighbors. ” And so may the Republican sit down with the Democrat, and the citizen dine with the immigrant!
The idyllic imagery of Isaiah and of Psalm 72 (“Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever ”) are not fairy-tales but Sacred Scripture, a vision of the world that God intended, a world without violence or division. Paul’s letter to the Romans repeats the same theme: “ May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. ” In the gospel, John the Baptist dramatically proclaims the need to repent and to “ produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.”
Our road map is clear. Peace, justice and harmony await those who are faithful. We must repent, let go of extreme nationalism and defensiveness, and open our hearts with forgiveness and mercy to those who think, act or worship differently.
Speaking of repentance: please join us on December 19 for the Communal Reconciliation Service in the Basilica at 7pm.
Blessings to you during Advent,
I’d like to remind you about the value of the new eGiving option through Faith Direct. It offers some important advantages over the current Sunday envelopes: It’s green. Less paper. Less postage. No need to mail envelopes every two months. It’s labor saving. Less work for those who count and deposit the collection each week; less effort for you with no need to write a check. It helps parish finances. Vacation time can cause a big drop in the Sunday offering, even though the parish expenses continue. The predictable and steady income provided by eGiving allows us to better support our ongoing parish ministries.
You can fill out the form available at church or mailed to your home and return it to the Parish Office or drop it in the collection basket, or register online HERE and use our parish code CA702. They also offer personalized offertory cards to replace your envelopes so you can continue to participate in the physical act of giving during Mass. Please give eGiving your prayerful consideration, and give envelopes a permanent vacation this summer.
Fr. George Alengadan