Sunday Church at Home – Second Sunday of Advent, Cycle C

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Second Sunday of Advent, Cycle C.
5th December, 2021


Sunday Church at Home

during the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

He Comes to Bring Salvation to Every Person.

The leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

Leader:        In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All reply:      Amen

Leader:        Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All reply:      Blessed be God for ever

 

ADVENT RITUAL

Leader:       

On this Second Sunday of Advent we continue our journey towards Christmas. It is a time of reflection and prayer, where we think about Jesus as we await His birth and reaffirm our faith in His return.

We now light the first and second candle on the Advent wreath.

The first candle is the candle of hope;

the second candle today is for faith.

We light this candle today remembering to put our faith in God.

The first and second violet/purple candles are lit.

 

Leader:        Let us Pray

Merciful Lord,

as we move through Advent

and towards the glorious celebration of Your birth,

Grant us the faith we need to always trust in You,

To hope in your unfailing love,

And to always call on you in times of trouble. Amen.

Families with a Jesse Tree can use the following, or the text from the Family Advent book available at the Bryanston Catholic Church.

The symbols on the Jesse Tree remind us of the people and events of salvation history as we look forward to the coming of the Saviour.

  1. Joseph and his Coat: The beautiful coat, a princely symbol that Jacob had made for his beloved son Joseph became the focus of the jealousy of his 11 brothers. Lord may we be humble before you and remember all that we have is from you. (pause)

 

  1. The Burning Bush: The manifest presence of God in the form of a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. May we too be filled with the fire of God’s love in our lives and remember that, like Moses, He calls each of us by name. (pause)

 

  1. Moses and the Law: The ten commandments; help us Lord to uphold these God given laws in our daily interactions with everyone we meet especially the vulnerable. (pause)

 

  1. The Prophet Samuel: Here we have a lamp which represents the light of the Word of God coming into the world. Help us to hear your word Lord and bring its life into the world. (pause)

 

  1. A Sheaf of Wheat: Ruth was allowed to collect left-over wheat in the fields following behind the reapers so that she could have enough food for her mother-in-law Naomi and herself. When we look at this sheaf of wheat, we remember that Gods provision extends to all people who trust in Him. (pause)

The second verse of the Advent Wreath Hymn can be sung.
(Tune: Away in a Manger)

A candle is burning, a candle of Peace;

A candle to signal that conflict must cease.

For Jesus is coming to show us the way;

A message of Peace humbly laid in the hay.

We continue with the Liturgy of the Word.

LITURGY OF THE WORD

 

First Reading:  Baruch 5:1-9

Introduction to the reading: The setting for today’s reading is the time when the Jews were captives in Babylon. The author writes of a bright future when they will return with joy to their homeland. In this passage, Jerusalem is pictured as a joyful mother, watching her children come home.

 

A reading from the Book of Baruch.
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction,
O Jerusalem,
and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.
Put on the robe of the righteousness from God;
put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting.
For God will show your splendour everywhere under heaven.
For your name will forever be called by God,
“Peace of righteousness and glory of godliness.”

Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height
and look toward the east,
and see your children gathered from west and east,
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that God has remembered them.
For they went forth from you on foot,
led away by their enemies;
but God will bring them back to you,
carried in glory, as on a royal throne.
For God has ordered that every high mountain
and the everlasting hills be made low
and the valleys filled up, to make level ground,
so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God.
The woods and every fragrant tree
have shaded Israel at God’s command.
For God will lead Israel with joy,
in the light of his glory,
with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 126:1-2ab.2cd-3.4-5.6 (R. cf. 3)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. What great deeds the Lord has worked for us!
Indeed, we were glad.

When the Lord brought back the exiles of Sion,
we thought we were dreaming.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter;
on our tongues, songs of joy.

Then the nations themselves said, “What great deeds
the Lord worked for them!”
What great deeds the Lord worked for us!
Indeed, we were glad.

Bring back our exiles, O Lord,
as streams in the south.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
bearing seed for the sowing;
they come back, they come back with a song,
bearing their sheaves.

R/. What great deeds the Lord has worked for us!
Indeed, we were glad.

 

Second Reading: Philippians 1:4-6.8-11

Introduction to the reading:

Of all the communities Paul founded, the one at Philippi was especially dear to him. Wherever he was, they sent him moral and financial support to help carry on his work. Now confined to a prison cell, Paul writes to them like a proud parent.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians.

Brothers and sisters:
Always in every prayer of mine for you all
making my prayer with joy,
thankful for your partnership in the gospel
from the first day until now.
And I am sure that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

For God is my witness,
how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more,
with knowledge and all discernment,
so that you may approve what is excellent,
and maybe pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruits of righteousness
which come through Jesus Christ,
to the glory and praise of God.

The word of the Lord.

< strong>Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Alleluia.

 

Gospel: Luke 3:1-6

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea,
and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip
tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,
in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah
in the wilderness;
and he went into all the region about the Jordan,
preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
As it is written in the book
of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be brought low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways shall be made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

 

Homily

Look around us now: In church or gathered at home, feel the connection in faith with each other. It is a remarkable to know I am not alone – I am connected in faith with those around me. Now reach out with our minds and we feel the connection within our parish. We reach out further – we are connected as a diocese – all 130 parishes today are connected in faith. We reach out further – all the dioceses in the world are connected in faith. And the focus of every Catholic in every diocese in the world is on Jesus Christ, the Head of the Body of Christ which is the Church.

Every Catholic throughout the world begins the second week of the Church’s world-wide retreat in preparation for Christmas. It is Advent, the quiet time, the time of preparation. Feel the great contrast with our culture’s wild consumer-bonanza. Our country has been blitzed with advertising saying Sale – Buy now. We let that go, and now we want this time of Advent to let us examine just how open we are to the birth of Christ in our souls.

I think that we are a little afraid. The present era of world time discourages many of us. We look around the world and see many civil wars, wars between nations, and terrorism desiring to destroy our way of life. We look around our country and see  the gigantic unemployment and loss of jobs, the disenfranchisement of the poor, huge corruption with billions of rands stolen in the Zuma years, the corruption continuing now, the failure of Eskom, the world-wide climate disaster and then the tough news that covid infections are rapidly increasing—who would not be depressed?

Parents in South Africa  worry themselves either too little or too much about conditions for their growing children. The quality of the schooling, drugs, moral issues, the increasing collapse of values are some areas causing a lot of anxiety.

In the face of all this, can we just sit back and have Advent – our quiet time, our retreat in preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus?

But listen to what the first reading proposes for our Advent retreat.

“Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction,…. and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.”

“Put on the robe of the righteousness from God;
put on your head the crown of the glory of the Everlasting.”

Isn’t that so powerful for us today? We take off our sorrow and suffering. We put on justice from and a crown of glory. Dream about what happens next.

“For God will show your splendour everywhere under heaven.
For your name will forever be called by God,
“Peace of righteousness and glory of godliness.”

Imagine that. God will show all the earth your splendour: you will be named by God forever as the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.

It is easy to say – that is too much! Has someone quietly lost their mind? Or is Church just cut off from the “real world,” hiding in pews and dreaming for a comforting and “nice” view of life?

Neither of those extreme points of view are for us.

We are being asked to let our approach to life and to tragedy undergo some revision, some stretching.

While we wait for the celebration of the birth of the baby Jesus, we look to the Christ, the one who is right now in our hearts, the one who is to be born again there very soon.

The Christ always has been, is now, and always will be present to us. Jesus the Christ  is always striving to help us to connect at its very roots with the mysterious depths of God.

What does it mean to have widespread corruption around us, planning to throw down our life and all that surrounds it? The One who wants to be born in us knows the answer intimately well. This happened to him. Corruption and greed are some of the motives that led to Judas Iscariot accepting 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus. What does it mean to have failure and disillusion as your daily bread? Jesus has experienced the pain of betrayal, Jesus has experienced what it means to suffer, to experience the deepest anguish. Jesus has been there.

So the question is, will we let the Christ be born in us this year, a little more than in the past? Are you willing to let our hearts stretch wider than ever before and so make room?

“Yes, but … ” Maybe not just now. Maybe later.

Is that our response?

Well, be at rest. We do not have to be capable of such a Christ-like feat all by ourselves.  As Paul says in the second reading:

“the one who began the good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Paul prays for each of us today as he prayed for the Philippians:

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more,
with knowledge and all discernment.”

May our love grow more and more. The tender care of God and of his carefully-tending mother are with us just as they promised, if we will allow them to help.

Against this background, we rejoice that the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

And John tells us today to:

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be brought low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways shall be made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

In this Advent, this retreat, this quiet time, this time of preparation, let us do all we can to “prepare the way of the Lord.”

From the prophet Baruch:

Jerusalem take off your robe of mourning and misery;

put on the splendour of glory from God forever:

wrapped in the cloak of justice from God.

Reflection:

The prophet Baruch promises a time when we will be “wrapped in the cloak of justice.” Justice is not merely one virtue among many. For God’s community, it is the key virtue. It reflects the very way God treats us. In a community guided by justice, all are treated equally; all share in the community’s resources; no one goes hungry or is treated unfairly.

So we ask ourselves:

  • What touched me as I listened to the Word of God?
  • How do I feel when I experience corruption?  What should my response be to corruption.
  • What can I do to help bring justice and peace into my community?

 

Prayer of the Faithful

Leader:        We now present our petitions with confidence to our heavenly Father.

Reader:

We pray for those entrusted with leadership in the Church and in society: that they may be filled with the gifts of wisdom and understanding.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for those struggling to build bridges with others in the home and in the workplace: that they may be sensitive and prudent at all times.

LORD HEAR US

For the grace of insight: that we may see the work of God in the events large and small in our lives and cooperate in bringing God’s love where it is most needed

LORD HEAR US

We give thanks the gift of medical knowledge, medical personnel and the covid vaccines; we pray all may soon be vaccinated to protect us and all souls around the world.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for members of our families and friends who have died and those whose anniversaries occur about this time.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for Linda Leih who died during the week.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.

And let perpetual light shine upon her.

May she rest in peace.  Amen.

 

Leader:        Let us pray our Advent Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

your son, Jesus, is your greatest gift to us,

a great sign of your love.

Guide us as we strive to walk in that love

together as a family this Advent.

As we prepare our hearts for Christmas,

bring us closer to each other

and give us the grace and strength we need every day.
Help us to always trust in you.

Come, Lord Jesus,

lead all people closer to you

and that we may strive to become

the-best-version-of-ourselves.

Fill us with a deep and abiding peace.

Help us share that peace with everyone we encounter,
especially those who need it most.

Come and dispel the darkness of our world

with the light of your love.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.

 

CONCLUDING RITE

 

Leader:        Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:

All say:        Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Leader:        God of our salvation,
you straighten the winding ways of our hearts
and smooth the paths made rough by sin.

Make our conduct blameless,
keep our hearts watchful in holiness,
and bring to perfection the good you have begun in us.

We ask this through him whose coming is certain,
whose day draws near:
your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

All:               Amen.

 

Leader:        May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

All:               Amen.

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