Saturday of the Second Week of Advent | Memorial of Saint John of the Cross,
Priest and Doctor of the Church
Intention: That all people will hear in the story of the birth of the Christ Child the call to increase our attention to the needs of children throughout the world.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 17: 9a, 10-13
As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
A Short Reflection for the Second Saturday of Advent
A reoccurring phenomenon in our history has been the appearance of various movements aimed at institutionalizing human selfishness. They usually are rooted in an appeal on behalf of the freedom of the individual, where nothing can or should supersede one’s right to do and be as he or she chooses, independent of any other needs or interests. In this worldview, cooperation and community are viewed to be at best a limited socio-economic strategy and at worst an Orwellian conspiracy. Ironically, by defining human rights and fulfillment in these terms, we block our path to any authentic experience of both. Central to the teachings of Christ is that our redemption lies in our relationships, in the acceptance, compassion, and dignity that we freely and unconditionally give to and receive from one another. We find our freedom in being with others and we lose it when we reject being with others. Author Marilynne Robinson wrote, “To value one another is our greatest safety, and to indulge in fear and contempt is our gravest error.” The time of Advent is a time when we all can rediscover what it means and what it looks like to be one people in God.
Eternal Father, your Son taught us to live lives of faith, humility, and compassion. For us, redemption is a gift that we receive together, as one people in you. It is in being with one another that we come to know our true selves, the persons that you created us to be for the purposes that you have made holy and right. As we ready ourselves this Advent for the birth of our Lord, may we be mindful of our need for community and fellowship if we are truly to know the grace of redemption in you. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.