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Sunday, December 5, 2004

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Second Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 11:1-10
Romans 15:4-9
Psalm 72
Matthew 3:1-12

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advent to the max

"...a herald's voice in the desert: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.' " —Matthew 3:3

The purpose of Advent is to prepare the way of the Lord, Who is coming to us in a new personal way this Christmas season. But there are different kinds and degrees of preparation. The Church teaches with John the Baptist that our preparation for Christ's coming this Christmas needs to be very extensive. We even need a baptism of repentance, that is, to be immersed in repentance (see Mt 3:11).

Our preparation for Christ this Christmas is comparable to a major excavation where mountains are made low and the fill dirt is used to fill in the valleys so as to make a rough road smooth and a crooked road straight (Lk 3:5). While the world gives us the picture of Santa Claus with a bag of presents, the Church presents the scene of the wild prophet, John the Baptist, driving a Komatsu super earth-mover to bury our sins.

Very few of us believe that Christmas is so great and we are so sinful as to require such an earthquake of preparation. However, the Church is right. We need a big Advent to have a true Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit so that I will not minimize but maximize Advent.

Promise:  "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord." —Is 11:2

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, Who is right now preparing a place for us in His Father's house (Jn 14:2).

Reference:  (Presentation Ministries offers the opportunity to grow in holiness through the Discipleship Retreats. The weekend retreat, Living a New Life in the Spirit, including an introduction to the spiritual gifts, is offered Feb. 11-12, 2005 in Cincinnati. For information, e-mail retreats@presentationministries.com or call 937-587-5464.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004