Reflection – Pastors Notes: 

The building of community starts with the welcoming of new comers and the acknowledgment of those who have been an integral part of our parish family some since always, many that at some time arrived and have stayed with us for the long haul. The essence of the parish community as such relies on forming relationships. It carries commitment, and a sense of being called to invest oneself in the life of the parish. With those relationships and that commitment we create a sense of communal identity. Indeed, community is built when people accept the responsibility of being involved. This may be especially challenging in the society we live in. However, any mass we attend, any parish activity, group or function can elicit gifts of service from parishioners and promote a spirit of generosity toward the pastoral needs in the parish or wider community. By welcoming others and by integrating ourselves with an active role in the church by sharing as Jesus did (cf. Mk 2.15-17), we extend the hospitality of welcome given to us by the Lord. The focus of a parish community must always give priority to persons over material goods such as the parish building and facilities. “An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.” (Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 24.) 

Father George Palamattam CMI 

2O17 December 10

Second Sunday of Advent

First Reading: Isaiah 40.1-5, 9-11 “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem!”

The Psalm 85 “Righteousness and peace will kiss each other.”

Second Reading: 2 Peter 3.8-14 “The Lord is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.”

The Gospel: Mark 1.1-8 “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me.”

Herald of Good Tidings

Take a deep breath, and release, and relax. I feel that Isaiah is telling us exactly that. The people in his time needed it. They were at great discomfort and distress, going through a brutal slavery accompanied by many killings and banishment. In all probability people in his time and after took much comfort from his prophecy, which were fulfilled, and realized by the discerning minds only. This prophecy had meaning, relevance, and value at the time of Jesus in his earthly human existence, and ever after throughout the history of humanity. It has much deeper meaning in our time. Humanity is truly looking for a word of comfort from the Lord, because the comfort we might feel here on earth is just transitory. We must look toward the horizon and beyond. That is precise what Prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist are telling in the scripture, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.’ The comforts the Lord is giving here on earth are invitations to prepare for the lasting comfort kept in store for those who truly seek the Lord. Once we have a vision of this lasting comfort in store for us, the little comforts and luxuries we strive after here on the ground will look like the quick-vanishing fireflies. Imagine the immensity of comfort found in the metaphor of the “Shepherd feeding the flock, gathering the lambs in his arms and carrying them in his bosom, and gently leading the mother sheep!” Looking at our times! Can we imagine steadfast love and faithfulness meeting, and righteousness and peace kissing each other? We may find these occasionally; they are not that common place. It is good to be reminded of Peter’s reflection, namely, ‘the Lord is not slow about his promise but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” The Lord’s patience is looking for a change of heart in us. The cry of the Baptist to ‘prepare the way’ is still going on in our concrete desserts, in the soulless sports arenas, in our loveless and limitless sexual orgies, in the intoxicated and narcotic partying, in our relationless families, in our unforgiving social environments, in our search grounds of unlimited pleasure and comfort, in our cutthroat business fields, in our unquenchable power centers, in our self-defeating political bargains, in our Sabbat-less Sundays, and similar idol-worshipping fields. The cry is loud. Some listened to the Baptist. Do we listen now? Will we be the recipients of the comfort God is offering through Isaiah? Could we be the objects of the Lord’s patience as perceived by Peter?

Fr. George