This week's readings
Sunday, Dec. 2, 2001
Reading I: Is 2:1-5
Reading II: Rom 13:11-14
Gospel: Mt 24:37-44
Monday, Dec. 3, 2001
Reading I: Is 4, 2-6
Gospel: Mt 8, 5-11
Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2001
Reading I: Is 11, 1-10
Gospel: Lk 10, 21-24
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2001
Reading I: Is 25, 6-10
Gospel: Mt 15, 29-37
Thursday, Dec. 6, 2001
Reading I: Is 26, 1-6
Gospel: Mt 7, 21. 24-27
Friday, Dec. 7, 2001
Reading I: Is 29, 17-24
Gospel: Mt 9, 27-31
Saturday, Dec. 8, 2001
Reading I: Gn 3:9-15, 20
Gospel: Lk 1:26-38
Pope's Prayer Intentions
December General Intention
Escape from cultural conditioning that blinds us to the rights of others. That we Christians may escape the subtle cultural conditioning which stifles recognition of the dignity and rights of others.
December Mission Intention
Illumination of the cultures of Asia by Christian humanism with its Gospel values. That Christian humanism may illumine, through Gospel values, the cultures of Asia.
Swords into plowshares:
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ
"Stay awake" and "be prepared" are the watchwords of Jesus at the beginning of Advent.
During this season we watch and wait for the birth of the Savior at Christmas, and also we wait and watch for his second coming at the end of time. Jesus constantly warns us to be ready for his coming, to conduct our lives as if he were around the corner.
"You do not know the day," he says. "You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."
This last part of the year 2001, as we enter into the new liturgical year beginning with Advent and leading us into 2002, has been a challenging time for our world. The date "September 11" has become a watchword for horror, fear, and terrorism. War, which we profess to abhor, has become once again a reality and is constantly on our minds.
for First Sunday
of Advent (Dec. 2)
We were not prepared for September 11. How could we have been? We do not want to live in constant fear, wondering if terror, war, destruction, and death are around the corner for us. Yet fear is what many have felt.
The Scriptures give us words of hope. Isaiah the Prophet reminds us that the day is coming when "the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest mountain" toward which "all nations shall stream." God himself shall judge between the nations, and "they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks."
The God who created the universe, who redeemed the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, and who sanctifies us by the power of his love, is a God of justice and peace. He shall teach us not to raise our weapons against one another, nor train for war again. If only we will, as Isaiah puts it, "walk in the light of the Lord," he will instruct us in his ways so that we may 'walk in his paths."
Saint Paul teaches that salvation is near, that the day is at hand. It is time to "throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." Straighten out your lives, Paul teaches. Conduct yourselves properly. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
In order to be that people of justice and peace, in order to beat our swords into plowshares, in order to respect the life and dignity of every human person, in order stay awake and be prepared for all the contingencies of life and to be ready for the Lord Jesus when we comes, we must "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." By our Baptism and the Sacraments we put on Christ, but we must also do it in the world where we live.
People who look at us should be able to recognize us as disciples of Jesus. They may be with us or against us, one of us or our enemies, but they should be able to see the image and likeness of God which Jesus stamps on us at our Baptism. Our words and actions should show that we are prepared, that we are his disciples, that we desire his justice and peace.
If we have put on the Lord Jesus Christ, we need not live in constant fear. We may be afraid to die -- that is normal. We may be afraid to fail -- but it should not paralyze us.
We should, instead, live our lives in such a way that when the Lord comes for each of us at the end of our lives, or all of us at the end of time, we are ready to look upon his face and see there his forgiveness and love.
Fr. John G. Stillmank is Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Madison and pastor of St. Andrew Parish, Verona, and St. William Parish, Paoli.
Third Millennium Prayer
1. Loving and gracious God,
in your providence
you have brought us to a new beginning,
a new millennium ripe for new evangelization.
2. We praise and bless you, Father.
In renewed faith, hope, and love
we give ourselves to you
that you form us in the image of Jesus,
your Son and our savior.
3. As followers of Jesus
help us to have the courage
to push out into the deep water
and lower our nets for a catch.
Teach us to listen to your voice,
to trust in your word,
to leave everything and follow
in the footsteps of Jesus.
4. By the power of your Holy Spirit
help us to work for greater solidarity
with all people throughout the world.
Enrich your Church with lasting measures
of justice, leading us to true peace.
5. May Mary, Mother of the Church,
intercede for us in our desire to say
yes to all that you, Father, ask of us.
This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
William H. Bullock, Bishop of Madison