Prepare The Way For Our Lord!
A Reflection for the Second Week of Advent
By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFM Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans Divine Mercy
Link to Fr. Bob’s YouTube Page; http://www.youtube.com/user/RevBobJohn
Link to Mission Web Site: www.missionstsergius.org
This Sunday, in addition to being The second Sunday of Advent for year A is also the Feast day normally
honoring Our Blessed Mother Mary under the title of Immaculate Conception. At the end of this week we also
have another feast Day honoring Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Our Blessed Mother has been made the Patroness of the Americas because she appeared to a Native of
South America, Juan Diego whose feast we celebrate on December 13th.
So, in addition to the theme for the Second Sunday of Advent which calls us to not only preparing to
celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but also to prepare for the promised second coming
of Christ, this coming week is a time to recall the willingness of Mary to believe in the message of the Angel
Gabriel and be willing to be the receptacle to bring Our Lord Jesus Christ into this world, in spite of the
danger she could be stoned for being an unwed mother.
The Immaculate Conception celebrates Our Lady‘s complete trust in Almighty God. The Christmas we are
preparing for is the celebration of God’s greatest gift to humankind, His beloved son Jesus Christ, but it is
also a time to reflect on the fact that God decided that Mary would be free of original sin in order to be a
pure vessel for Christ to be conceived in by the Holy Spirit and nurtured to human life for nine months.
When the Angel Gabriel, informed her that God had chosen her to bear the promised of the ages with these
words "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:29-35. Mary asked; “How can this
be, for I know not man?. The angel replied;"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and
will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will
rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." The holy Spirit will come
upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called
holy, the Son of God.”
This fulfilled the promise from God when He drove Satan from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:14-16 “And I
will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel” and in Isaiah 11: 1: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse: from his
roots a branch will bear fruit.”.
What faith in God Mary must have had to accept this message. After all, the punishment for having a sexual
relation without being married was to be stoned to death as an adulteress.
Mary’s response to Gabriel’s message was “Let it be done to me according to God’s will” (Luke 1:38) is a
response we might want to consider telling God when we are faced with difficulties.
In our daily live we are often faced with challenges or situations where we have great apprehension and I
wonder how many of us respond to them with “Let it be done to me according to God’s will” as Mary did or
do we gross and complain because things are difficult.?
The Gospel of this Sunday has the following words “Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand…Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1-12) The preceding are from
Matthew 3:1-12. When you couple them with the following passage from the Gospel of Mark 13: “Jesus
said to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. … he
comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!” They
should give us food for thought as we enter the second week of Advent. Those words should also remind us
of how Mary answered God’s call to service in spite of the difficulties she might face.
The message for all four weeks of Advent are the same, “We need to be prepared to meet our maker and be
ready to answer for how we lived the life God gave us here on earth. We need to be able to make the case to
God that we did our human best to live in accord with the teachings we received through Scripture which is
the inspired word of God.
Just as Mary and even Juan Diego, trusted in God and accepted the consequences of that acceptance, we
also have to be willing to put our trust in God and work diligently to live in accord with the teachings Christ
brought us Just as Mary and Juan Diego did.
God will give us what we need to prepare ourselves for the time we come face to face with God just as he
gave Juan Diego what he needed to convince the Bishop of the truth of the message Mary brought.
We will need to answer how we conducted our daily lives and how we used the gifts that God gave us each
and every day to reflect God to those we met on the road of life. .
Last week we heard the words from Paul’s letter to the Romans where he tells us; “The day is at hand: let us
therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”
Last week, December 2nd was called CYBER MONDAY because we are told the people of the US spend
more on gifts to give on Christmas shopping on the internet.
Sadly, most of those people who were buying things like Electronic gadgets, huge plasma TV’s, and other
things that have become status symbols have no idea of the real meaning to Christmas.
Christmas for the majority of people is all about a jolly white haired old man ( NO NOT ME) in a red suit who
travels around the globe in a sleigh drawn by eight or nine reindeer distributing presents.
People have forgotten that true meaning of CHRISTMAS is Christ.
Without CHRIST there cannot be a Christmas.
The Mass part is the time when all those who believe in the teachings of Christ, come together to partake in
the gift Christ gave us, of himself in the Eucharist. That Mass, whether the vigil mass, the midnight mass of
the mass of Christmas day honors the miracle of the Birth of Jesus Christ.
Some years back I remember there were signs and bumper stickers that stated “WITH OUT CHRIST THERE
IS NO CHRISTMAS”
What we as Christians and followers of the teachings of Christ should be focusing on during this time of
preparation is how well we are actually living THE WORD, The Good News of Salvation found in Holy
Do we take time to consider the needs of the poor, sick, aged, homeless and do we extend love to all God’s
children regardless of their race, nationality, marital state or sexual orientation.
In this time when the entire world is facing financial crisis one of the hardest hit areas has been Charities
and Religious denominations that depend on the generosity of people to accomplish their work and reach
out to those who society often is willing to leave behind.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone who was out in the stores spending, according to the published
estimates of a few billion dollars, actually made a donation of 10% of what they spent to charitable
organizations like food pantries, homeless shelters, orphanages or their Religious denomination so they
have the ability to serve those in need in their Faith communities as well as pay the bills associated with
maintaining the ministry.
Now is the time for those who have been blessed with more to seriously reach out to those who serve God’s
often abandoned and forgotten children and do what ever they can to relieve their pain and suffering.
I know from this ministries own experience how much more we are being called upon to help those in need
and how painful it is when we are hampered by a shortage of available funding and supplies.
The gospels of the last two weeks tell us how God will judge us when we are called before Him and that we
never know when that time will come.
The season of Advent is dedicated to preparing ourselves for the second coming of Christ when we will be
judged on how we lived our lives here on earth as well as preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ.
In this season when we are thinking about giving gifts to our family and friends let us not forget the gift we
are going to give to God in thanksgiving for all He has given us.
Just as Mary trusted in the message of the Angel Gabriel, and Juan Diego trusted in Mary’s message to him,
we need to put not only our trust in God and the promise of a life beyond this one but we need to give the
Christ child a wonderful gift like the Magi because they recognized Jesus to be the promised of the ages.
Let us bring to Christ our gift of compassion and charity to one of the least of God’s children so that when
we do have to answer to God for how we lived He will reply to us these words; “'Come my good and faithful
servant, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the