Second Sunday of Advent: PEACE
Lord, as we enter into the second week of Advent,
stir up our hearts that we may prepare for your only begotten Son,
that through His coming
we may be made worthy to serve you with pure hearts.
Through Christ our Lord.
Advent Reflection From Our Pastor
Quiet Prayer and Penance
Many people like to fantasize about the end of the world. Movies like Armageddon and The Day After present apocalyptical visions of the aftermath of nuclear holocaust or tidal waves. We like to watch and read about these kinds of things, but we do not really take these stories seriously.
This Sunday’s Gospel, however, is a sober reminder that we should take things seriously because not only will the material world eventually end, but so too will our lives. Civilizations grow and collapse. Countries are founded and cease to exist based on different moral codes and economic principles. And every day people pass away. We are reminded of this now more than ever as we live through this coronavirus pandemic and as we watch our country and others throughout the world become less stable and more agitated.
And yet, as Christian Catholics we do not need to fear the end of the world or our lives because we are (or at least should strive to be) waiting for Jesus Christ to come. And, even more, not only are we waiting, but we also experience in a very immediate way both here and now that Jesus comes to us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the other sacraments, in the Word, and in each other. We encounter Him at every moment of our lives, so the moment of our death or the end of the world, which for all we know could happen tomorrow or in 1,000 years, will be a joyful encounter with Christ knowing that our union with Him will be complete.
The questions that we must ask ourselves are these: Do I change when Jesus comes to me (in the sacraments, for example)? Do I invite and permit Jesus to change me when He comes? Frequently, whether consciously or subconsciously, we place many obstacles in the way to prevent Jesus from coming into our lives and our hearts. The primary obstacle is sin. And yet, God has given us a remedy for sin: the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Another obstacle is our own weakness and woundedness due to which we often have a distorted image of God. And yet, again, this is not an obstacle for God as long as we keep inviting Him into our lives to heal our deepest wounds and distortions and open our eyes, years, hearts, minds, and hearts to see, hear, contemplate, and receive Him as He really is.
Advent is the time of year when we, hopefully, still ourselves, enter into a spirit of quiet prayer and penance—even against the spirit of consumption that the world promotes—and prepare to encounter Christ who is coming and who is present in the here and now. Insofar as we live in Jesus’ presence and in a state of grace, we have absolutely nothing to fear. Indeed, we will live with joy because every moment of our lives bring us ever closer to the moment of our ultimate encounter with Christ through death and resurrection.
Yours in Christ,
Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent: Lectionary 5
Reverse Advent Calendar:
Here’s a fantastic action many Our Lady of the Wayside CFM families are participating in this Advent — something you might consider doing with your family as well. This Reverse Advent Calendar is a GREAT way to minister to the hungry this Advent (and COVID-19) Season.
Although we’re a bit behind the “action-curve” posting this on the Second Sunday of Advent, this is an effective way for you and your family to be #differencemakers for many who are struggling. “Whatsoever you do…” Please consider participating.
To view, download, and print this calendar, click here: Reverse Advent Calendar
Week 2 of Advent: Peace
By Judy Madden – Alliance for Catholic Education
One of my favorite Christmas carols is “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. The lyrics resonate with my hopeful heart – “Peace on earth and mercy mild. God and sinner reconciled.” What more do we want really?
Pope Francis has spoken about peace throughout his pontificate, urging all of us to become “peace leaders” and calling us to seek to understand those with whom we disagree. What a challenge that is. And what a special call we have as Catholic Christians to be peace leaders ourselves; to lead through humility.
In this, Pope Francis reminds us that peace is not passive, it requires action. We have to engage, actively look for signs of peace and then act as true peace leaders ourselves.
One of the great blessings of accompanying ACE teachers over the past 15 years is the chance I’ve had to see peace leaders in action.
I’ve seen a first-year teacher pour through information, meet with parents and come up with a plan so 3rd grader Elise, who has dyslexia and has been made fun of, can stay in her class and grow alongside her best friend in a safe learning environment.
A peace leader I know wrote down the phone number of helpers on the inside of his student Juan’s shoe so Juan knows who to call if he returns home one day to find his parents had been detained by ICE.
Yet another peace leader walks Brandon home from school every day to make sure he’s safe, even though neither of them know exactly where home will be for Brandon that night.
Peace on earth and mercy mild. We work for peace, and we ourselves are affected by it, we reap peace through the interaction and able to then sow more peace with others.
Isn’t that the story of the Visitation? Young Mary, single and pregnant. The object of gossip, stares, and judgment in her little village. Mary, took off in haste to see her cousin Elizabeth. She needed to be with someone who could offer her peace, and Elizabeth brought Mary peace. Even more so, Mary, in a real incarnate way, brought Elizabeth peace that day. The same peace she brings all of us through her child, Jesus. “Peace on earth and mercy mild.” Indeed.
Let us all work to be peace leaders in our families, our schools and our communities, through Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Children’s Advent Calendar:
Looking to engage your children in Advent preparation? Check out Loyola Press’ Children’s Advent Calendar. It contains several great actions and activities for younger ones to do as they prepare for the birth of Jesus this Christmas.
To view, download, and print this calendar, click here: Children’s Advent Calendar
Advent Resources from the USCCB
The United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) web site contains a wealth of Advent-related material. Here are just a few items for your exploration and reflection this Season.
Here’s a helpful 2020 Advent Calendar to help you fully enter into the season with daily activity and prayer suggestions to prepare you spiritually for the birth of Jesus Christ.
Click HERE to download and print the Advent Calendar.
About Advent Wreaths:
The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle… Click here for more…
The “O Antiphons” of Advent:
The Roman Church has been singing the “O” Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative “Come!” embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah. Click here to view the O Antiphons…
Pope Benedict’s XVI’s Spiritual Thoughts on Advent:
These quotes and reflections from the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, are excerpted from “Christmas: Pope Benedict XVI Spiritual Thoughts Series.”
Click here for more…
Deacon’s Beacon: Advent, A Time of Giving
Sharing thru the “Giving Tree”
The Advent season started last Sunday. But this Advent will be very different from all of the others that we’ve experienced. Perhaps God is giving us an opportunity to grow stronger in our faith life. Many of us are fortunate to have the resources to weather this storm. Substitute “God” for “Santa” and this could be a prayer for us:
However, many are not so fortunate and are struggling to provide for their families this season. The community of Our Lady of the Wayside has addressed this issue for many years through the Christmas Giving Tree to assist the community of St. Mark’s.
This year their needs are greater than in prior years. If you have not yet “placed a virtual envelope on the tree” you can still do so. Place your check in an envelope marked “Giving Tree” and drop it in the RED boxes in the vestibule in the Parish Office and in the church.
As usual, you can designate your gift for:
- Child (Boy/Girl)
- Family Groceries
Although the planned final return date is Sunday, December 6, we will be receiving gifts though this week. This will allow time for our gifts to be delivered and distributed at St. Mark and allows the families time to shop. If you have any questions, please contact: Patty Haase at 847-255-6711
Please help us decorate the Giving Tree
Happy Thanksgiving from OLW to St. Mark’s.
— Deacon Tom Corcoran
The Care & Outreach Commission was able to obtain 24 full turkey dinners which were given to us by a St. Vincent dePaul chapter in the Rockford diocese.
We received the dinners last Saturday morning. They were 12 pound frozen turkeys, so in our 45 degree weather we could not leave them in the garage for several days. Some dinners were distributed to our parishioners. The remainder were rushed down to St. Mark’s by the Rockford St. Vincent dePaul society representative and me.
The pastor, Fr. Martin Ibarra and the pantry manager, Fernando Iniguez were eagerly awaiting the turkeys’ arrival and stored them in the St. Mark freezers for distribution in time for Thanksgiving. Thanks to this contribution, close to 100 people were able to enjoy a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
As St. Paul says, we’ve each been given a gift to share with the people of God. And each gift is important to the building up of the body of Christ
Thank you and God Bless!
Deacon Tom Corcoran
“You are the light of the world. Do not light a lamp then put it under a bushel basket…. your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:5-16
Please send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to review content from The First Week of Advent: HOPE
Tags: #advent, #olw, #olwparish, #penance, #prayer, #reflection