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Second Sunday of Advent, Cycle C

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First Reading
Baruch 5:1-9
Jerusalem shall see the splendor of God’s glory.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 126:1-2,2-3,4-5,6
A song of praise for God’s great deeds

Second Reading
Philippians 1:4-6,8-11
Paul prays for the Philippians.

Gospel Reading
Luke 3:1-6
John preaches repentance and baptizes in the region of the Jordan.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This week and next, our Gospel readings invite us to consider John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus. John the Baptist appears in the tradition of the great prophets, preaching repentance and reform to the people of Israel. To affirm this, Luke quotes at length from the prophet Isaiah. John baptizes for repentance and for forgiveness of sins, preparing the way for God’s salvation.

The three Synoptic Gospels—Mark, Matthew, and Luke—attest to the importance of the baptism of John in preparing for Jesus. Only the Gospel of Luke, however, extends the connection between these two men to their birth. The first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel contain the Infancy Narrative, which tells about the births of John the Baptist and Jesus. These stories set the stage for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in chapter 3.

The evangelist Luke is the author of the Gospel that bears his name, and he also wrote the Acts of the Apostles as a continuation of the story of Jesus and the Church. In these two works, Luke’s sense of time and history emerges. He identifies three epochs of salvation history: the time before Christ, the time of Christ, and the time of the Church and the Holy Spirit. In today’s Gospel reading, as elsewhere, John the Baptist is presented as the figure who bridges the time before Christ and prepares the way for Christ’s own ministry.

In today’s Gospel we also note Luke’s attention to political and historical detail. Luke shows that salvation is for all people and situated in world events. Therefore, Luke lists the political and religious leaders at the time of John’s appearance in the desert. Salvation is understood as God’s breaking into this political and social history.

John’s preaching of the coming of the Lord is a key theme of the Advent season. As John’s message prepared the way for Jesus, we too are called to prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming. We respond to John’s message by repentance and reform of our lives. We are also called to be prophets of Christ, who announce by our lives the coming of the Lord, as John did.- loyolapress.com

SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Today we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast celebrates God’s choice of Mary to be the mother of Jesus. God preserved Mary from the stain of original sin from the moment of her conception. Thus, Mary was the first to receive the benefit of the redemption that her Son would merit for all.

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Pope: Advent, time to bring peace to ourselves, to our family, to our world

“Do not talk about others”. “If all of us were doing just that – not talking about others – peace would succeed. May the Lord prepare our hearts for the Christmas of the Prince of Peace. But, prepare us by doing us all, our part, to pacify: pacify my heart, my soul, pacify my family, the school, the neighborhood, the workplace “.

Vatican (AsiaNews) – Advent is the time to build peace in one’s own soul, in the family and in the world. And the first step is not to speak ill of others. Pope Francis said this in the homily of the Mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta, inspired by the First Reading of today’s Liturgy (Isaiah11,1-10) and the Gospel (Luke 10,21-24).

Read more…http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Pope:-Advent,-time-to-bring-peace-to-ourselves,-to-our-family,-to-our-world-45649.html

May Advent prepare for the coming of Jesus, not just worldly goods

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Advent is a period that has “three dimensions”: past, present and future. It serves to “purify the faith”, to “purify hope” and to “purify vigilance”, because the Lord will return. Read more… http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Pope:-May-Advent-prepare-for-the-coming-of-Jesus,-not-just-worldly-goods-45638.html

Pope Francis’ December 2018 Intentions

photo credit: https://www.popesprayer.net/

Evangelization – In the Service of the Transmission of Faith
https://youtu.be/FmoHGi8-e2w
That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time.

 

 

Liturgical Feasts / Anniversaries /Observances

(Legend: Ab=Abbot  Ap=Apostle  Pp=Pope  Bp=Bishop  Ch=Children  De=Deacon  Dr=Doctor  Kg=King Ma=Married  Mt=Martyr  Pr=Priest  Qu=Queen  Re=Religious  Vg=Virgin  Fd=Founder)

Dec 2: 1st SUNDAY OF ADVENT 

Dec 3:  FRANCIS XAVIER**

Dec 4:  John Damascene (Pr, Dr)

Dec 6:  Nicholas (Bp)

Dec 7:  Ambrose* (Bp, Dr)

Dec 8: IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY***

Dec 9:  2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 11 : Damasus I, Pp

Dec 12 : Our Lady of Guadalupe

Dec 13 : LUCY* (Vg, Mt)

Dec 14 : JOHN OF THE CROSS* (Pr, Dr)

Dec 16 : 3rd SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 21 : Peter Canisius (Pr, Dr)

Dec 23 : 4th SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 25  : CHRISTMAS DAY

Dec 26 : STEPHEN, FIRST MARTYT**

Dec 27 : JOHN THE EVANGELIST**(Ap)

Dec 28: THE HOLY INNOCENTS** (Mts)

Dec 29 : Thomas Becket (Bp, Mt)

Dec 30 : HOLY FAMILY**

Dec 31 : Silvester I (Pp)

Cardinal Charles Bo of Myanmar new president of FABC

Pope Francis with Cardinal Charles Bo (L) in Myanmar in Nov. 2017.

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon was elected the new president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences on Nov. 16.

Myanmar’s first cardinal has been elected the next president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon was elected the new FABC president at the FABC Central Committee meeting on November 16.  He will assume office on January 1, 2019.

The Salesian cardinal takes over from Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, whose second term ends on December 31.   Cardinal Gracias who earlier served as FABC secretary general between January and December 2012, is currently the president of both the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the apex body of the Church in India, and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) which brings together the country’s Latin rite bishops.

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Pope Francis’ message to young people for 34th WYD in Panama 2019

Vatican – Pope Francis has a message for young people preparing for World Youth Day 2019: Ask God “What do you want from me?” — and allow God to answer you. 

Watch the Video Message of Pope Francis for the WYD 2019 at: https://youtu.be/9tQ3Et-6L5c?t=146

The Holy Father’s Message to young people in preparation for the XXXIV World Youth Day 2019, which will be celebrated in Panama, is centred on the theme: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). The Message, published on the day of the celebration of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, concludes a cycle of three Marian messages dedicated to young people along their journey WYD 2016 to WYD 2019.

A statement by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life said that for the first time, the Message of the Holy Father in preparation for WYD is being published principally in the form of a video message, so that it can reach the greatest number of young people; and respond to their desire, expressed during the recent synodal process, to communicate with the Church through forms closer to their own language.

In his address, the Holy Father addresses all the young people of the world — believers and non-believers — encouraging them to discover the characteristic values of youth. It recognizes their willingness to serve others and invites them to put this attitude into practice from a Christian perspective: “To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action. It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded,” says the Holy Father.

The video message serves as an instrument of spiritual preparation for the next WYD in Panama 2019 and also as an inspiration for youth ministry throughout the world. The next World Youth Day will be celebrated from 22-27 January 2019 in Panama.- Vatican News, 21 Nov 2018

Pope Francis’ lunch with the poor

Vatican – Pope Francis on Sunday joined about 1,500 poor people and a group of volunteers for lunch to mark the World Day of the Poor.
After Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, during which he urged believers to heed the cry of the poor and said that “the cry of the poor daily becomes stronger but heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich”, the Pope addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, and then went to a beautifully decked out Paul VI Hall and took his seat at the main table.
Before lunch was served, the Pope asked for thanks for those who prepared the lunch and for those who were serving and prayed for the Lord’s blessing for all those present.
A youth band from the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei provided musical accompaniment and the menu included lasagna, chicken morsels, mashed potatoes and tiramisu.- Linda Bordoni, 18 Nov 2018

Vatican documentary on priest who transformed poverty into hope

The Vatican Film Library presents a trailer on Friday for a documentary film “Good Friend-Pedro Opeka” by Jože Možina. https://youtu.be/p4KroXLR9b8

Known as the ‘Holy Fighter’ or ‘the man of miracles’, Father Pablo Pedro Opeka, the Lazzarist missionary shows Christ’s compassionate face to the poor in the peripheries of Madagascar through his humanitarian work. Father Pedro Opeka, an Argentinian with Slovenian origins, was ordained a priest in Buenos Aires on 28 September 1975 and was sent to a rural parish in southeast Madagascar.

Fr Opeka discovered that the people there were living in utter poverty with no proper food or shelter. He created a local non-governmental organization called Akamasoa (the good and faithful friends) in December 1989, which now sustains about thirty thousand people in 18 villages.

His story has been made into a documentary, entitled ” Good Friend – Pedro Opeka”, and was screened in the Vatican on Friday, November 16. The images chosen by the film’s creator – Slovenian national television journalist, Jože Možina – do not focus, as often happens, on suffering and degradation, but – like Father Pedro Opeka’s entire life – on dignity and rebirth.

The film is being presented thanks to a collaboration with the Embassy of Slovenia to the Holy See and the Slovenian Ministry of Culture. – Vatican News

Caritas Pakistan in support of integral ecology, planting 700,000 saplings

Pakistan’s Catholic Church is behind a plan to plant a million trees by 2019. Lahore and Karachi are among the most polluted cities in the world. In 2025 Pakistan will be in absolute water scarcity.

Lahore – Caritas Pakistan has launched a campaign to plant a million trees. In doing so, it is putting into action the Church’s doctrine on integral ecology.

Planting beech trees and orchids trees began in 2016 and will end in 2019. The work is well underway, with 700,000 saplings already planted in various parts of the country.

The initiative is called ‘One Million Tree Plantation Campaign (2016-2019)’, and involves many primary school students.

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PNG bishops: APEC’s success on the backs of the poor

The Pacific Rim summit will cost at least 1.5 billion dollars to a country where 40 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line and resources for education and health are scarce. The US-China trade war will dominate the meeting.

Port Moresby – The bishops of Papua New Guinea have strongly criticised the government for the huge cost incurred with the APEC summit (17-18 November) at a time when many Papua New Guineans lack essential services like health, education and hygiene.

“We share the concern of many about the huge amount of our limited resources being expended on this event which seems designed to entertain and impress the rich and powerful,” said Mgr Rochus Tatamai, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua-New Guinea.

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Pope: the Church grows in silence through testimony, through prayer, through good works

“The Bride of Christ has a silent temperament, generates fruits” without noise “, without” playing the trumpet like the Pharisees “.”The Church also grows with the blood of the martyrs, men and women who give their lives. Today there are many. Curious: they do not make the news. The world hides that. The spirit of the world does not tolerate martyrdom, it hides it”.

Vatican – The Church grows “in simplicity, in silence, in praise, in the Eucharistic sacrifice, in fraternal community, where all are loved,” and none are rejected. That was the message of Pope Francis during the daily Mass celebrated in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the day’s Gospel (Lk 17:20-25), the Pope said that the Kingdom of God “is not spectacular,” and that it grows in silence.

The Church, he said, is manifested “in the Eucharist and in good works,” even if they don’t “make the news.” The Bride of Christ has a temperament given to silence; she produces fruit “without making a fuss,” without “sounding the trumpet, like the Pharisees”:

The Lord explains to us how the Church grows with the parable of the sower. The sower sows and the seed grows by day, by night… – God gives the growth – and then the fruit is seen. But this is important: First, the Church grows in silence, in secret; it is the ecclesiastical style. And how is this manifested in the Church? By the fruits of good works, so that the people see and glorify the Father who is in heaven, Jesus says. And in the celebration, the praise and the sacrifice of the Lord – that is, in the Eucharist. There the Church is manifested: in the Eucharist and in good works.

“The Church grows through witness, through prayer, through the attraction of the Spirit who is within,” Pope Francis said in his homily, “and not through events.” These events certainly help, he continued, but “the growth proper to the Church, that which bears fruit, is in silence, in hiding, with good works, and the celebration of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery, the praise of God.”

The Lord helps us to not fall into the temptation of seduction. “We want the Church to be seen more; what can we do so that it will be seen?” So usually one falls into a Church of events that is not capable of growing in silence with good works, in secret.

In a world that too often gives into the temptation to sensation, to worldliness, to appearance, Pope Francis recalled that Jesus Himself was tempted to create a sensation: “But why take so long to accomplish the work of redemption? Perform a good miracle. Cast yourself down from the temple, and everyone will see; they will see, and they will believe in you.” But He chose “the path of preaching, of prayer, of good works,” the way “of the Cross” and “of suffering”:

The Cross and suffering. The Church grows also with the blood of the martyrs, men and women who give their lives. Today there are many [martyrs]. It’s strange; they don’t make the news. The world hides this fact. The spirit of the world does not tolerate martyrdom; it hides it. – AsiaNews, 15 Nov 2018

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