In the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent, we notice three concrete invitations for the way we live: to preach, to repent, and to announce the good news.
The first invitation is to preach. John the Baptist preached through the humble way he lived and through the example he set for the many who followed him. We would say that he acted with great humility, since many followed him, confessing their sins and being baptized. In his time, John preached in the desert of Judea. Today, we should ask ourselves: Where is the “desert” in which God is present to us in the realities of this moment? Are we preaching in this “desert” through the way we live and the example we set? Or, maybe there are many “deserts.”
Repentance. In this second invitation, we reflect on how God, through John, has a clear plan: inviting us to repent and to prepare to encounter Jesus when he arrives. What is God’s plan for us today? What are God’s desires for me? Based on our experiences, let us focus our gaze and our hearts on the hope that Jesus brings. Like John, Jesus comes to teach us humility. But unlike John, Jesus remains with us and lives in our hearts when we turn to him for forgiveness. Once we allow him to enter our hearts, not only does he want to remain with us, but he also wants to give us his Holy Spirit.
Let us announce that Jesus has arrived. Advent is a time of preparation, so that when Jesus comes and approaches us, we can open our hearts to him and offer him a place. The way we live and the changes we make during this time of preparation are a concrete sign of how God is preparing us for Jesus to come into our lives. Let us prepare with humble hearts, and let us ask God for the grace not only to open our eyes and ears to hear and see Jesus, but also our lips to announce the good news that he is present to us.
Domingo Caratachea lives in Richmond, Virginia, and is a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. He coordinates the “Posadas Ignacianas” for the parish, and together with his wife, Marta, and two others, he coordinates a prayer group. He also leads an Ignatian group which gathers to deepen faith through Ignatian spirituality. Currently, he is in the process of discernment to become a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Richmond.
February 6, 2020 – In 1975, the Society of Jesus published “Our Mission Today: The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice.” Composed under the leadership of then-Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, the document reminds us that we are to understand the pursuit of justice in the world as integral to the Ignatian way of proceeding. At the heart of Ignatian spirituality is the invitation to be a contemplative in action, and “action” means, in large part, working to create a more just society.
Jan. 2, 2020 - This month Pope Francis is asking us to join him in praying for the Promotion of World Peace. "We pray that Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill may promote together peace and justice in the world."
The invitation in Christmas is to reflect and shift our lives towards God’s wishes for us. Our hearts and activities should move in the same direction and be able to celebrate together the Nativity of Jesus.
December 22, 2019 – For Pope Francis, a perfect Christmas begins with us “making a mess” — that is to say taking a risk, seeing and speaking out about bad situations, doing something new, something different, something for justice, something that could change the misfortunes of the present so that the blessed future might arrive.
December 15, 2019 – “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers… They will see the glory of the LORD,” the prophet Isaiah tells us in today’s first reading. It is a beautiful image, but I can hardly imagine it. When we speak of the desert, the first image that comes to mind for me is not flowers and lilies blooming, but what I see in photos and videos of immigrants trying to cross the southern border into the US.
December 1, 2019 – Advent is a liturgical season of great significance to Christians. We have the opportunity to reflect on, and prepare for, Jesus entering the world as a child in need of love and care. As we contemplate Jesus as a child, vulnerable and fragile, we are able to see his greatness.
December 1, 2019 – The Universal Apostolic Preferences give us ways into contemplating the mystery which Advent itself unfolds for us. They invite us to a ‘contemplative listening’. In each we are directed to hear and follow the Spirit who is calling to us. Often, too, we will come to recognize those who are already on the way before us; those who can lead us and teach us.