Advent 2016

Second Tuesday of Advent - December 6th

Is 40: 1-11 // Ps 96: 1-3, 10-13 //Mt 18: 12-14

How often do we allow Advent to challenge us? How often do we listen to the call of Second Isaiah, recognizing that each epoch must respond and make straight the highways and level the valleys? Second Isaiah invokes powerful imagery of how willing we should be to prepare for the arrival of God’s anointed one and the lengths to which we should be willing to strive. Yet, we so rarely recognize Advent for the penitential season that it is.

During Mass, the priest wears violet garments, he covers the altar in a violet cloth, and we light Advent wreaths with primarily violet candles. Outside of Gaudete Sunday, where the color rose signifies our joy at the nearness of Jesus’ arrival, violet reminds us of the penitential nature of the season of Advent. Violet symbolizes the call to a renewal of our faith before the Christmas season. Certainly, then, we should not fail to recognize the penitential call of Second Isaiah in today’s first reading. We, too, must ready ourselves interiorly for the arrival of the Savior as we approach his arrival.

The gospel reading for today reminds us of the kind of attitude that we should develop throughout this season. The shepherd’s actions are somewhat foolish, and their apparent short-sightedness more closely resembles the thinking of a wastrel child than a prudent businessman. Yet, we are not called to a lukewarm commitment to the gospel message, just as Advent does not lukewarmly call us to renewal. Nor, as Jesus reminds us, does God love us in a lukewarm way. So, keeping in mind the example of the Parable of the Shepherd, let us use this Advent as a chance to be renewed. Let us change our minds, attitudes, and hearts towards those around us, loving with a love that thinks not of the cost.

Patrick Connolly
Graduate Student in Theology – Class of 2017